The festival -- which runs August 28 to September 7 -- will award the Golden Lion and other official prizes via Bertolucci's jury.
The decision was made by the Board of Directors of the Biennale chaired by Paolo Baratta, on the recommendation of Alberto Barbera, the Director of the Venice Film Festival.
“Very few directors can claim a lifetime experience so passionately committed to contemporary cinema like Bertolucci’s," said Barbera. "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. Such commitment to “the present” is one of the finest services that cinema can render to itself and is one of the many reasons why Bertolucci is the ideal Jury President. I am delighted he has generously accepted this delicate and important role."
“I cheerfully accept to chair the jury of the 70th Venice International Film Festival," added Bertolucci. " Over a handful of days, I am being given the opportunity to see the most interesting work being done in filmmaking around the world. My friend and film buff Alberto Barbera has the knack of discovering the most mysterious niches of filmmaking in the most mysterious countries in the world."
This is Bertulocci's second time heading the jury, following the 1983 Venice Film Festival, which was celebrating its 40th edition.
"My jury [then], composed almost entirely of directors, could not help but award the Golden Lion to Jean-Luc Godard, to whom we all owed so much and who had never won an important prize in his life," Bertolucci said. "At the time what I wanted from films was surprise and enjoyment. I haven't changed much since then."
On the closing night of the festival, the international jury -- which will include 9 other people to be announced -- will award the following official prizes to the feature-length films in Competition:
- Golden Lion for Best Film
- Silver Lion for Best Director
- Grand Jury Prize
- Special Jury Prize (a new award)
- Coppa Volpi for Best Actor
- Coppa Volpi for Best Actress
- Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress
- Award for Best Screenplay
There will be no joint winners, the festival said, with the sole exceptions of the two Coppa Volpi awards and the Marcello Mastroianni award. Individual films may "receive no more than one of the awards mentioned in the regulations. However, in exceptional cases and after consultation with the Festival Director, the Jury may confer the Coppa Volpi and Marcello Mastroianni awards to actors or actresses featured in films which have won the Silver Lion, the Grand Jury Prize, the Special Jury Prize or the Award for Best Screenplay."