The 69th Venice Film Festival opened this week with a screening of Indian filmmaker Mira Nair's "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" which follows a Pakistani immigrant in the United States who sees his life overturned by 9/11.
Based on the 2007 novel by British-Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid, the political thriller tells the tale of Changez, a Pakistani immigrant living the American dream until the 9/11 terror attacks when American society rejects him and he is forced to return to Pakistan where he eventually falls in with a group of radical islamists.
"The Festival’s opening night will feature a film that provides much food for thought. It is a choice that intends to highlight the growing role of female creativity in all spheres of culture and contemporary society," said the festival's director Alberto Barbera.
The film's stars were all in attendance at the premiere including Kate Hudson and Riz Ahmed, director Mira Nair, and actor Liev Schreiber.
Also present at the opening festivities were the judges' panel which this year will see Israeli director Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir) who was relieved to be on the judges' side this year: "It feels wonderful to be part of the judges' panel," he told Yedioth Ahronoth.
Israel will also be represented among the films featured in the festival with Rama Burstein’s Fill the Void, a haredi filmmaker who will be competing for the Golden Lion for best picture. The film focuses on a haredi family dealing with tragedy.
There are also five other Israeli films taking part in different categories in the festival.