The Italian Almanac

Quentin Tarantino

The Next Chairman

Cult US director Quentin Tarantino will chair the jury at this year's Venice Film Festival, organisers announced. Tarantino, 47, is "one of the major creative figures in contemporary cinema," an announcement on the festival's website said.

Noting that he returned to critical and public acclaim with last year's Inglorious Basterds, the festival said: "Ever since his brilliant debut with Reservoir Dogs (1992), followed by his manifesto-film Pulp Fiction (Palme d'Or at Cannes and Oscar screenplay winner in 1994), Tarantino has been one of the most startling directors in cinema today. He is perhaps the only American auteur to be adored worldwide like a rock star".

The festival also hailed Tarantino's knack for relaunching "overlooked actors in impressive roles" including John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, Pam Grier in Jackie Brown (1997) and David Carradine in Kill Bill (2004), as well as creating new stars such as Christoph Waltz who won the best supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of an SS Jew hunter in Inglorious Basterds.

Inglorious Basterds, the fest noted, was inspired by an Italian B movie and Tarantino has made two tributes to lesser-known Italian cinema in Venice: Italian Kings of the B's in 2004 and a spaghetti western retrospective in 2007.

The 67th edition of the world's oldest film fest, directed by Marco Mueller, will run from September 1-11. The official line-up of films will be announced at the end of July. This year's lifetime achievement award will go to Asian and Hollywood director John Woo.

Tarantino's father, the actor/musician Tony Tarantino, is of Italian descent.