Italian actor and director, Nanni Moretti, has been named as the president of the jury at the 65th Cannes Film Festival.

Unlike last year’s choice of jury president, US actor Robert De Niro, not all of you will have heard of Moretti, but that’s not to say that he doesn’t know his stuff. Moretti was given recognition by Cannes back in 1994, when he won the award for Best Director for Caro diario (Dear Diary) – a Italian language, semi-autobiographical film, which also starred Moretti in the lead role.

He also won the prestigious Palme d’Or award in 2001 for his drama film, La stanza del figlio (The Son’s Room). A festival favourite, he’s also had four more of his films shown at Cannes over the years, including last year’s religious comedy Habemus Papam (We Have a Pope) – and so really, if you haven’t heard of him before, then more fool you.

Moretti served as a jury member at the 50th Cannes Film Festival back in 1997, and the festival organisers have been quoted as saying that Moretti’s films “are the incarnation of all the best in cinema over the past 30 years”.

Moretti himself has reportedly described being chosen to head up the jury as, “a real joy, an honour and a tremendous responsibility”. Other members of the jury are expected to be announced over the coming months.

Other directors to have taken on the role of jury president in the past include Quentin Tarantino, Wong Kai-Wai, Stephen Frears and Sean Penn. It’s safe to say that Moretti’s films tend to be a little less mainstream than those of De Niro, and it will be interesting just how niche this year winners are – the 2011 jury handed the festival’s highest prize, the Palme d’Or, to Terrence Malick’s experimental film, The Tree of Life.

The 65th Cannes Film Festival will run from 16th-27th May 2012.

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