69th Venice Film Festival Opens with ‘Reluctant Fundamentalist’ and Jafar Panahi Remembered


69th Venice Film Festival  Opens with ‘Reluctant Fundamentalist’ and Jafar Panahi Remembered
by Darius Kadivar

The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a big-screen adaptation of Mohsin Hamid's acclaimed 2007 novel, has opened the 69th Venice Film Festival. (Source: persianrealm.com)

Jury and Opening with Tribute to Jafar Panahi:

Opening Ceremony of the 69th Venice Film Festival, 29th August 2012. The evening was hosted by Italian-Polish actress Kasia Smutniak. Cerimonia di apertura della 69. Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica

69th Venice Film Festival - Kasia Smutniak opens first day's red carpet :

Kate Hudson, Matteo Garrone, Naomi Watts, Laetitia Casta, Bob Sinclar and Michael Mann are some of the stars that hit the opening red carpet ceremony of the Venice Film Festival.

Liev Schreiber Interview The Reluctant Fundamentalist Venice Film Festival:

Liev Schreiber costars with Kiefer Sutherland, Kate Hudson and Riz Ahmed in this political thriller that is based on Mohsin Hamid's international best-selling novel

Film Critic Bahman Magsoudlou on Predicament of Iranian Filmmakers :

(Note this is from a different Film Festival but relevant to this blog)

The Reluctant Fundamentalist opens Venice Film Festival (bbc)

The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a big-screen adaptation of Mohsin Hamid's acclaimed 2007 novel, has opened the 69th Venice Film Festival.

Actress Kate Hudson trod the red carpet with her partner, Muse singer Matt Bellamy, while co-star Liev Schreiber attended with his partner Naomi Watts.

The star-studded premiere followed reports claiming this year's festival had struggled to attract big "names".

The film, directed by Mira Nair, got a mixed reception from critics.

Nair won the festival's top prize, the Golden Lion, for Monsoon Wedding in 2001.

In her new film, Britain's Riz Ahmed plays a young Pakistani man who becomes a high flier on Wall Street before being radicalised in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Time magazine praised it as a "tense, thoughtful and truly international" film that "raises questions meant to test America's conscience".

Ahmed - who previously played an incompetent bomber in Chris Morris's satire Four Lions - stood out in "a star-making role", it added.

The 29-year-old was also singled out by Screen International, whose critic said he gives "a finely nuanced performance that carries the film".

Overall, though, reviewer Mark Adams concluded that the film "never finds the right pacing or structure to satisfy the dramatic arcs".

Variety said the film "saddles itself with a laborious narrative structure and half-baked thriller elements".

But the Hollywood Reporter described it as "a serious-minded film whose politics demand soul-searching and attention".

Hamid's book was nominated for the Booker Prize in 2007.

Speaking on the red carpet, Nair said she wanted to reflect the fact that "the modern Pakistan is nothing like what you read in the papers".

She added that she hoped to bring "some sense of bridge-making, some sense of healing, basically a sense of communication that goes beyond the stereotype".

This year's line-up also includes To The Wonder, the latest from Tree of Life director Terence Malick, and Robert Redford's The Company You Keep.

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix star in Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, the story of a religious cult that some have suggested bears a resemblance to Scientology.

Alberto Barbera, the event's new artistic director, has cut the number of films being screened and has faced criticism over the relatively small number of stars attending.

Venice has come under increasing competition from the Toronto Film Festival in Canada, which overlaps with its Italian rival.

Recommended Reading:

Iran threatens to boycott Venice film festival over EU sanctions(guardian, 31 July 2012)

A boycott would be unlikely to cause too much damage to this year's programme on the Lido, considering that no Iranian films are up for the 2012 Golden Lion. 

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Fundamentalist movie sees 9/11 from the 'other side'

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Tables turned (bbc)


Fundamentlist movie shows the 'other side' of 9/11


The cultural clash between east and west after 9/11 is brought sharply into focus in Mira Nair's adaptation of the best-selling novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which opened the Venice Film Festival this week.

The film tells the story of Changez Khan, played by British actor Riz Ahmed, a Pakistani in America who re-evaluates his identity in the aftermath of the terrorist bombings of the Twin Towers.

It is the first movie co-production between India and Pakistan and also features Hollywood actors Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber and Kate Hudson.