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"Argo" composer Alexandre Desplat to head Venice Film Festival jury

For the first time, a composer will lead the international jury at the annual Venice Film Festival.

Organizers said Monday that the jury president this year will be Frenchman Alexandre Desplat, a six-time Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner. His many credits include the scores for "Godzilla," "The King's Speech," ''Argo" and "Philomena."

"It is a great honour and an arduous responsibility to be the president of the Jury of such a prestigious Festival" Desplat said in a statement. "Italian cinema has influenced both my taste and my music more than any other, and I am proud to be coming to the Venice Film Festival the year after Mr. Bernardo Bertolucci."

The festival's director, Alberto Barbera, added, "Alexandre Desplat is not only one of the greatest composers of film scores today but an ardent cinéphile, whose extraordinary artistic sensitivity is sustained by a profound knowledge of cinema, of its history, of its language."

Desplat began his career in French cinema and broke into Hollywood in 2003 after composing for "Girl with a Pearl Earring."

The 71st edition of the festival, which often showcases unconventional, artistic films, runs Aug. 27 to Sept. 6. The nine-person jury awards the Golden Lion for best film and seven other prizes.

This year's slate of films has yet to be announced.

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