Italy's Nanni Moretti, whose credits range from his award-winning family drama The Son's Room to his Silvio Berlusconi take-down Il Caimano, will lead the Cannes film festival's 2012 jury.

An outspoken actor, screenwriter, director and producer best known for making clever satires, Rome-based Moretti was named jury head of the upcoming festival on Friday.

Organizers hailed his films as "the incarnation of all the best in cinema over the past 30 years."

The 58-year-old filmmaker attended the 2011 festival to screen his film Habemus Papam (We Have a Pope), a gentle comedy about a panic-stricken cardinal who is chosen as the next pontiff and requires the help of a psychiatrist.

He has previously been honoured in Cannes, winning best director for Caro diario (Dear Diary) and the top prize — the Palme d'Or — for 2001's La Stanza del figlio (The Son's Room).

His films Sogni d'oro (Sweet Dreams) and La messa e finita (The Mass is Ended) have also earned prizes at the Venice and Berlin film festivals, respectively.

"This is a real joy, an honour and a tremendous responsibility to preside over the jury of the most prestigious festival of cinematography in the world," Moretti, who also served on the Cannes jury in 1997, said in a statement.

"As a spectator, fortunately I still have the same curiosity that I had in my youth and so it is a great privilege for me to embark on this voyage into the world of contemporary international film."

The Cannes Film Festival takes place May 16-27.