Nair's political thriller kicks off 69th edition

ROME — Mira Nair’s political thriller “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” will open the 69th Venice Film Festival, which will unveil its slimmed-down lineup on Thursday.

Nair’s adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s bestseller about a young Pakistani who goes from working on Wall Street to becoming deeply embroiled in conflict in his homeland stars Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber, Martin Donovan, Om Puri and Shabana Azmi, all of whom are expected on the Lido’s red carpet on Aug. 29 when “Fundamentalist” will bow out of competition.

Pic, produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher in association with the Doha Film Institute, is being sold internationally by K5 Intl. with Hal Sadoff for DFI and Bart Walker of Cinetic handling North America.

Nair is a Venice aficionado who won the 2001 Golden Lion for “Monsoon Wedding.”

New Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera praised Nair’s work in “Reluctant Fundamentalist” for “never being reluctant to take a difficult stand.”

Barbera’s slimmed-down lineup is tipped to comprise a top notch batch of U.S. pics, including Terrence Malick’s “To the Wonder,” Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master,” and Robert Redford’s “The Company You Keep.”

Other titles believed to be among the Lido’s roughly 50 world preems are Olivier Assayas’ “Something in the Air,” Takeshi Kitano’s “Outrage: Beyond,” 102-year-old Manoel de Oliveira’s “Gabo and the Shadow,” Susanne Bier’s “Love is All You Need,” Rama Burshtein and Yigal Bursztyn’s “Fill the Void” and an as-yet-untitled work by Kim Ki-duk. Italian entries in competish will include Marco Bellocchio’s “Sleeping Beauty” and Daniele Cipri’s “E’ stato il figlio.”

Fest runs Aug. 29 to Sept. 8.

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