One of Italy’s top directors, Bernardo Bertolucci, is to chair the international jury for the 70th Venice International Film Festival later this year.

Bertolucci helmed The Last Emperor, which won nine Oscars, including the best director honours in 1988. His most recent film is 2012’s Me and You, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival.

He will chair a jury of nine that awards the festival’s top prize — the Golden Lion — and seven other official prizes.

The Venice Film Festival has added a new prize to its main competition for 2013 – a special jury prize.

Now 73, Bertolucci made his debut as a director in Venice with The Grim Reaper in 1962 and over the years brought films such as Partner (1968), The Spider’s Stratagem (1970), Luna (1979) and The Dreamers (2003).   He has -had a long, close relationship with the festival and was awarded the Golden Lion of the 75th, a prize instituted to celebrate the Venice Film Festival’s 75th anniversary in 2007.

He chaired the jury once before, in 1983, when the Golden Lion went to French director Jean-Luc Godard for Prénom Carmen.

"Over a handful of days, I am being given the opportunity to see the most interesting work being done in filmmaking around the world," Bertolucci said after accepting the appointment from Venice Film Festival director Alberto Barbera.

Barbera welcomed Bertolucci as a director committed to contemporary cinema.

"His work has explored with insatiable curiosity the world around us and the ever evolving language of film, discovering and bringing to our attention what’s most vital and beautiful," Barbera said in a statement.

The Venice Film Festival runs Aug. 28 to Sept. 7, overlapping the Toronto International Film Festival, which begins Sept. 5.