Jodie Foster joined Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese to promote the hugely controversial Taxi Driver back in 1976
Credit: Ginfray/Simon/Gamma-Keystone/Getty

Let’s set the stage: It’s 1976 and Cannes is abuzz with news of a talented American actress who thrills audiences in a gritty urban drama. The shocker is that this gifted thespian is a 13-year-old named Jodie Foster.

Taxi Driver took Foster to Cannes 40 years ago, along with director Martin Scorsese and star Robert De Niro. But only one of the film’s participants wowed local journalists by answering their questions in fluent French.

“I feel like two people – one English, one French,” she told PEOPLE in an interview in 1980.

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She may have been remarkably mature for her age, but Foster has a teenager’s memories of her first time on the Croisette.

“It was much more chaotic back then, there were photographers everywhere,” Foster said Thursday at a Cannes press conference for Money Monster, per The Hollywood Reporter. Foster directed the film screening out of competition, which features stars including George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

“There was no Palais [where the festival is now headquartered]. The red carpet was at the Carlton I think. I had been doing movies for a while but Cannes was really the beginning of my life as an actor … To return here return here 40 years later is the greatest honor because it is the place for auteur film. To be here with the likes of Pedro Almodovar and Jim Jarmusch is really an honor.”

Earlier this month, she told THR: “I remember I was sort of intimidated by the fact that I had to have a different outfit for everything – I thought that was weird. And there were also people on the beach who didn’t have any tops on themselves – I thought that was pretty risqué. I remember that because my mom went to the pool, and she took her top off. And I was like, ‘Mom!’ I couldn’t believe it! I was so embarrassed.”