Bernardo Bertolucci will serve as guest artistic director at AFI Fest 2012, the American Film Institute announced Wednesday.
Bertolucci is the weightest international auteur to occupy the position, which launched two years ago with the selection of AFI Conservatory alumnus David Lynch and continued last year with Spanish provocateur Pedro Almodóvar.
"I am very excited and honored," said the Academy Award-winning director and screenwriter.
Bertolucci has selected four feature films for his special sidebar program at the festival: "42nd Street," directed by Lloyd Bacon, Jean Renoir's "La Regle Du Jeu," F. W. Murnau's "Sunrise" and "Vivre Ca Vie" from Jean-Luc Godard.
The festival also will present "Electric Chair," a behind-the-scenes film about the making of Bertolucci's new movie, "Me and You."
Also read: 'Hitchcock' World Premiere to Open AFI Fest
Bertolucci has written and directed more than 25 films, including "The Last Emperor" "Last Tango in Paris," "The Conformist," "The Sheltering Sky" and "Little Budda."
He won Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Screenplay for 1987's "The Last Emperor" and received an honorary Palme d'Or at the Cannes Festival last year. He will be honored with the European Film Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award in December.
"Bernardo Bertolucci is an artist of uncompromising vision," said Bob Gazzale, president and chief executive officer of the American Film Institute. "He's an inspiration to emerging filmmakers at the AFI Conservatory, where he gave his first master seminar in 1974, and he continues to inspire artists and audiences around the world."
Bertolucci conducted master seminars at the AFI Conservatory about the craft of filmmaking and his particular visual style in 1974 and again in 1979.
"We are so pleased to have an uncompromising master of the moving picture join us," said Jacqueline Lyanga, director of AFI Fest. "We're inspired by the extraordinary way in which he has lived a life of film, brought this intention to his visual style and elevated the art of cinema."
Leading up to the festival, Bertolucci's films will be presented from Oct. 12 through Nov. 4 by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, American Cinematheque, Luce Cinecitta and Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Los Angeles, as part of "Bernardo Bertolucci: A Retrospective."
AFI Fest 2012 Presented by Audi will kick off on Nov. 1 with the world premiere of "Hitchcock," the Sacha Gervasi film starring Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock and Helen Mirren as his wife, Alma Reville. It will run through Nov. 8, when it will close with the premiere of Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln."
Tickets are free to the public, though only paid patron passholders will receive reserved tickets to high-profile events like the "Hitchcock" premiere. Tickets will be made available to AFI members on Oct. 24, and to the general public on Oct. 25.
Photo by Getty Images