The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a political thriller by Indian director Mira Nair, is to open the 69th Venice Film Festival on Aug. 29.

It will be the world premiere of the film, based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid. It follows a Pakistani man working on Wall Street who is caught between his professional aspirations, a hostage crisis and his loyalty to his native country.


Movie director Mira Nair's The Reluctant Fundamentalist is to open the Venice Film Festival at the end of August. (Dario Pignatelli/Reuters)

Riz Ahmen, Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber, Martin Donovan and Canadian-American actor Kiefer Sutherland star in the film, which will show out of competition. The score includes new original music by Peter Gabriel. The Reluctant Fundamentalist was shot in Lahore, Delhi, Istanbul, New York  and Atlanta.

New York-based Nair has previously had four films screen at the Venice festival, including Monsoon Wedding, which won the Golden Lion in 2001. Her most recent film in competition in Venice was 2004’s Vanity Fair. Her 1988 film Salaam Bombay was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign-language film and won the Camera d'Or at Cannes.

Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera said the film provides "food for thought" in its examination of fundamentalism.

"With great sensitivity, subtlety and remarkable sense of cinematic narrative, the director is never reluctant to take a difficult stand, inspired by profound ethical and moral reasons that, although choosing to face reality, still reject its compromises and aberrations," he said in a statement.

The rest of the lineup for the festival, to run Aug. 29 to Sept. 8, will be announced later this week.