What did it feel like to win the Palme d'Or'
Quite surprising, at first. From all the contenders, only John Huston and myself were left without an award when there was only the Palme d'Or left to be given. So when the Jury president Dirk Bogarde called my name, I looked with astonishment at Huston and he shrugged his shoulders, gave me a big smile and gestured that I better get up. Somehow, I remember that little gesture by John Huston better than anything that followed.
How did you celebrate'
Anatole Dauman, my co-producer, threw a party. Nastassja Kinski and Harry Dean Stanton were there. Sam Shepard didn't come because he would never take planes. I played pinball with Jim Jarmusch all through the night. Jim had won the Camera d'Or, so it was a great night for Wim and Jim.
Did it make it easier to attract funding for subsequent projects'
Not really. Maybe Wings profited a little bit from the success of Paris, Texas. But that was it. The time had ended when you could count on any previous work to help financing new films. Today, whatever you have done before, and whoever you are, you have to start each project from scratch. Your next film, its script and its cast, will be judged as if you were a newcomer.
Where do you keep your Palme d'Or'
In the office. It's amazing how modest and small the Palme is. Most other prizes are hovering over it.
To whom would you give an all-time Palme d'Or'
How do you see the role of festivals changing'
Cinema changes. Why should festivals remain the same' Both Cannes and Berlin have shown and demonstrated that in impressive ways. Sometimes it's a walk on a tightrope between the commercial trends and the new directions into which cinema is developing.
What are your hopes/fears for the future'
I very much hope that Cannes will continue what Gilles Jacob has demonstrated in the past 20 years with such competence and authority: to keep an equilibrium between mainstream demands and being a seismograph for the true contemporary cinema.