Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron will preside over the main competition jury at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival. The eight other members of the jury will be announced later.
The Festival -- the oldest in the world having begun in 1932 (Cannes started only in 1946, and Berlin in 1951) -- runs from September 2 to 12.
Cuaron was celebrated for movies such as Y Tu Mama Tambien and Gravity. Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mother Too), which opened in 2001, caused an upheaval and rating problems in several countries, because of its explicit sex and scenes of drug use. However, the film about two teenage boys who take a road trip with a woman in her late twenties, went on to become a cult classic.
Gravity, which opened the 2013 Venice Festival, starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, was a science-fiction movie about two astronauts getting stranded in space after their orbiting station breaks down. Gravity fetched Cuaron seven Academy Awards in 2014, including those for direction and editing. The film, in fact, garnered 11 Oscar nominations, and earned $ 700 million. It cost only $ 100 million to produce.
One of the most renowned helmers of his generation, Cuaron's first feature in 1991, Solo Con Tu Pareja, a black comedy starring Daniel Gimenez Cacho and Claudia Ramirez, became the biggest boxoffice hit in Mexico.
Impressed with this debut, Sydney Pollack hired Cuarón to direct Murder, Obliquely, an episode of the neo-noir Fallen Angels series on Showtime (joining the ranks of fellow Fallen Angels' directors Steven Soderbergh, Jonathan Kaplan, Peter Bogdanovich and Tom Hanks). The episode, starring Laura Dern and Alan Rickman, won Cuarón the 1993 Cable ACE Award for Best Director.
Cuarón made his first Hollywood movie with the critically acclaimed motion picture adaptation of the beloved children’s book, A Little Princess (1995), which was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Cinematography and Art Direction, and won the L.A. Film Critics New Generation Award. This was followed in 1998 by a contemporary adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel Great Expectations, which starred Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert De Niro, Anne Bancroft and Ethan Hawke. A superb work with fine performances.
Cuarón returned to Mexico to direct a Spanish-speaking cast in the funny, provocative and controversial road comedy, Y Tu Mama Tambien, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay (written with his brother Carlos) and BAFTA nominations for Best Foreign Film and Best Original Screenplay.
This was followed in 2003 with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third in the series of phenomenally successful adaptations of author J.K. Rowling’s novels; Rowling herself named Cuaron's movie as her personal favourite in the series.
Cuaron's next project, Children of Men, which he co-wrote with Timothy Sexton, was one of the most talked about films of 2006, and was hailed by critics and movie fans for its ground breaking techniques, including several high-impact tracking shots. The film was nominated for a multitude of awards, including three Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Achievement in Editing, and went on to win two BAFTAs for Best Cinematography and Best Production Design.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran has covered the Venice International Film Festival for over a decade.)