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Venice Selects Mira Nair’s ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ For Opening Film

Written by on July 23, 2012 

As the summer season begins to wind down, it’s time to start looking toward the especially strong fall line-up. With that, we’ve got the first news of a fall film festival opener, coming from the 69th Venice Film Festival. Toronto will follow-up tomorrow with news of their major gala and special presentations, but the Italian festival, which officially kicks off the fall film festival season, has given its opening slot to Mira Nair‘s next drama The Reluctant Fundamentalist. [Venice]

Far away from Amelia, Nair’s last film and a failed attempt at a Hollywood biopic, this project is described as “riveting international political thriller.” Led by Riz Ahmed (last seen in Trishna, who gave a great performance in the dark comedy Four Lions), he’s joined by a partial American cast including Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland and Liev Schreiber and Martin Donovan.

While it isn’t a new film from Paul Thomas Anderson, Terrence Malick, Derek Cianfrance or Olivier Assayas, we’re still excited about the prospects here — and hopefully news of the premiere of their films will be headed our way shortly. In the meantime, check out an extended synopsis of the film below.

Student demonstrations are raging in Lahore, as young Pakistani professor Changez Khan and a journalist, Bobby Lincoln, share a cup of tea and conversation. Princeton-educated Changez tells Lincoln of his past as a brilliant business analyst on Wall Street. He talks of the glittering future that lay before him and the beautiful and sophisticated Erica whom he was set to share that future with.

But then 9/11 changes everything. Attitudes shift dramatically – his very name and face rendering him suspect. Returning to his homeland and the family to whom he is very close, he takes up a post as lecturer at the local university, a hotbed of radicalism and the new militant academia.

The collegial pretense of the meeting in a Lahore teahouse, between Lincoln and Changez, slowly gives way to why the unlikely pair has gathered on a summer day — another professor has been kidnapped by extremists, and the clock is ticking toward a deadline for his execution. Changez’s family is being harassed and is in real danger. Bobby is there to listen, with an agenda of his own. As it is revealed that Lincoln is in the lions’ den with the CIA, we also learn that he has a personal stake in the immediate crisis at hand. Taking us through the culturally rich and beguiling worlds of New York, Lahore and Istanbul The Reluctant Fundamentalist is an exploration of prejudice and the phenomenon of globalization that is both exhilirating and deeply unsettling.

Also starring Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, Haluk Bilginer and Meesha ShafiThe Reluctant Fundamentalist will premiere on August 29th for the festival that runs through September 8th.

Are you excited to see the next film from Nair?

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