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Mira Nair's 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist' Opens 69th Venice Film Fest

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 23, 2012 at 12:34PM

The 69th Venice International Film Festival will open on August 29th with Mira Nair's out-of-competition world premiere "The Reluctant Fundamentalist." It's her fifth showing at Venice, including the Golden Lion winner "Monsoon Wedding," "Mississippi Masala," the collective film "11'09'01," and "Vanity Fair."
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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.

This article is related to: Festivals, Festivals, Mira Nair


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.