When A Man And A Woman scooped the Palme d'Or in 1966, its French director Claude Lelouch had already been hailed at festivals for such works as In The Affirmative and To Be A Crook. But the romance, starring Anouk Aimee, catapulted him to international fame and landed him not only the Palme d'Or but also two Oscars (for best foreign-language film and best original screenplay). Lelouch, also a producer, has gone on to make over 40 more films and shows no signs of slowing down.

What did it feel like to win the Palme d'Or'
I was on my way to the Carlton Hotel in the afternoon and heard an Italian journalist screaming: 'Lelouch has won the Palme d'Or!'

How did you celebrate'
We just got together with the actors. But that night Orson Welles received a special prize and so I was just really happy that he shook my hand. It was a pretty normal night; we were so happy and that was enough.

How did it affect your career'
Thanks to that I have been able to do what I want. It changed my life and opened doors to freedom and to not have to do films for hire.

Did it make it easier to attract funding'
People forget very quickly so it helps the next film or two but if those hadn't worked I wouldn't have been able to do the 40 next ones. It gave me the right to do two more films.

Where do you keep your Palme d'Or'
In my office, protected on either side by the two Oscars.

To whom would you give an all-time Palme d'Or'
Mikheil Kalatozishvili. He won for The Cranes Are Flying in 1958 and it's still one of my favourite films.

What have been the most important shifts in the industry during your career'
The arrival of digital is a true revolution. Since I am very attached to actors, to be able to shoot for 40 or 50 minutes is a big revolution.

How do you see the role of festivals changing'
Festivals will have more and more difficulty getting big films. There are fewer bad films but the big ones aren't like before. Films have become telefilms - they're all for prime time.