The 87-year-old Anselmo Duarte is the only Brazilian who has picked up the top prize at Cannes with The Given Word in 1962, when the unknown director nabbed the prize from under the noses of Michelangelo Antonioni (The Eclipse), Robert Bresson (The Trial Of Joan Of Arc) and Luis Bunuel (Exterminating Angel). But what should have been a glorious recognition of his talent became a curse. Harshly criticised in Brazil, Duarte felt persecuted and his career took a downturn.

What did it feel like to win the Palme d'Or'
Because I had faith in my work, I wasn't so surprised. That's probably why I didn't cry, unlike my cast and crew.

How did you celebrate'
Because nobody believed we could win, nothing had been planned by the Brazilian consulate. They threw us a cheap party, where they served just pinga (liquor distilled from sugar cane). They didn't want to spend money on us.

How did it affect your career'
Things started going wrong afterwards. The Brazilian cinema community didn't appreciate my achievement and didn't support me in my next projects. When I received the Palme d'Or, some Brazilian critics and other directors started to question my victory. To make things worse, I was never the darling of the press.

Did it make it easier to attract funding'
No. Quite the opposite.