ROME – French film composer Alexandre Desplat will preside the main jury of the upcoming 71st Venice Film Festival, marking the first time a musician will head the panel of jurors that gives out the fest’s Golden Lion and other top prizes.
Desplat, a six-time Oscar nominee whose film scores include “Argo,” “The Queen,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “The King’s Speech,” and “Philomena,” was praised by Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera as “not only one of the greatest composers of film scores today but an ardent cinephile, whose extraordinary artistic sensitivity is sustained by a profound knowledge of cinema, of its history, of its language.”
Desplat, whose many prizes include a Golden Globe, three Cesars, two European Film Awards, and a Bafta, has collaborated with scores of highly regarded helmers, including Roman Polanski, Terrence Malick, Jacques Audiard, Kathryn Bigelow, David Fincher, and Ang Lee.
“It is a great honour and an arduous responsibility to be the president of the jury of such a prestigious Festival,” Desplat said in a statement. “Italian cinema has influenced both my taste and my music more than any other, and I am proud to be coming to the Venice Film Festival the year after Mr. Bernardo Bertolucci.”
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Bertolucci headed the Venice jury last year.
Upcoming pics with a Desplat score include Italian auteur Matteo Garrone’s English-language horror/fantasy “The Tale of Tales,” toplining Salma Hayek and Vincent Cassel.
The 71st edition of Venice will run August 27-September 6.