The Reluctant Fundamentalist premiered last year at the Venice Film Festival, but it will be a very different screening experience when it has its U.S. premiere at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival on Monday night. Based on the 2007 novel by Mohsin Hamid, director Mira Nair’s adaptation tells the story of Changez, a brilliant Princeton-educated Pakistani who prospers on Wall Street until the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, which force him to acknowledge the Otherness he begins to see reflected back at him in the eyes of scared and suspicious Americans. It’s an experience that Nair herself encountered in the frightening months after 9/11, when the rattled city that was her home began to look at her and her family very differently.
But Nair is glad to bring her film to New York, even with the tragic bombings in Boston resurrecting old fears and psychological scars from 2001. “Tribeca is such a perfect place because the festival came out of a sense of healing and wanting points of view from beyond our own borders,” says Nair. “My film speaks to that. It’s a beautiful place to be able to offer this film, which I really view as a bridge.”
In an exclusive scene — which includes a single profanity — Changez (Riz Ahmed) wins over a Wall Street recruiter (Kiefer Sutherland) with his ambition and ability to assimilate. “In America, I get an equal chance to win,” says the confident young man. “And whether you hire me or not, Jim, I am going to win.”
Click below for the clip, and then read a Q&A with Nair about her take on the relationship between American and the Islamic world. READ FULL STORY »