The Italo auteur, who is 72, bowed his first feature, gritty drama “The Grim Reaper,” from the Lido in 1962, when he has a boy wonder.
Bertolucci previously served as Venice jury topper in 1983, presiding over the jury that lionized his idol, Jean-Luc Godard, for “Prenom Carmen” at the fest’s 40th edition.
“At the time what I wanted from films was surprise and enjoyment. I haven’t changed much since then,” Bertolucci said Thursday.
Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera praised Bertolucci for exploring “with insatiable curiosity the world around us and the ever-evolving language of film.”
Bertolucci won nine Oscars in 1987 for “The Last Emperor,” making him the only Italian ever to win an Oscar for best director. He recently returned to the director’s chair after an eight-year hiatus for drug addiction drama “Me and You,” released in April in the U.K. by Artificial Eye.
In separate news, the Venice fest launched its call for entries for its second Biennale College workshop, which shepherds microbudget pics from development through distribution, providing each project with €150,000 ($197,000) in cash. Once completed, the three winning projects unspool at the fest. The deadline for director-producer teams is July 10.
Venice will run Aug. 28 to Sept. 7.