VENICE (Reuters) - Politics, religion and personal crisis combine in “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” the opening movie at this year’s Venice film festival, which examines what the 9/11 attacks mean for a young Asian man destined for a bright future on Wall Street.

Based on the novel by Pakistan-born writer Mohsin Hamid, it is directed by Indian Mira Nair, one of a large number of female filmmakers in Venice this year and a winner of the festival’s coveted Golden Lion for best film with 2001’s “Monsoon Wedding.”

“The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” which has its red carpet world premiere on Wednesday to launch the 2012 festival, is not eligible for awards because it screens outside the competition.

But organizers are hoping its themes of faith, alienation and radicalism will provide a provocative start to 11 days of films, interviews, press conferences, photo shoots and late-night parties on the Lido island, which is part of Venice.

“‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ gave me the platform to create a dialogue between the subcontinent and the West, over a schism that becomes more and more pronounced each day,” Nair said of her new film.

She called it “a story about conflicting ideologies, instead of competing fists, where perception and suspicion have the power to determine life or death.”

Venice, the world’s oldest film festival, celebrates its 80th anniversary this year and welcomes back artistic director Alberto Barbera for another stint at the helm.