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WOMEN

French rock star killer makes comeback gaffe

Bertrand Cantat, a French rocker who beat his girlfriend to death in 2004, planned to release his comeback album on November 25, which marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. He has since been forced to change the release date.

French rock star killer makes comeback gaffe
Bertrand Cantat is escorted into court by Lithuanian police in July 2003. He was late found guilty of beating to death his girlfriend, actor Marie Trintignant. Photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP

It was the day that was supposed to mark Bertrand Cantat's comeback, years after the rocker killed his famous actress girlfriend in an incident that shocked France.

But producers of his new band Detroit were forced to bring forward the launch of their album after they realized the date initially chosen – November 25th – is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

"In order not to stoke controversy and to stay within a strictly musical context, Olivier Caillart (head of the band's record label Barclay) has decided to bring forward the launch of Detroit's album 'Horizons' to November 18," the label said in a statement.

The former frontman of top French rock group Noir Desir – which officially disbanded in 2010 – was sentenced to eight years in jail in 2004 for the murder of Marie Trintignant, a famous French actress.

Trintignant suffered severe brain damage after the pair had a fight in a hotel in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, and later died of her injuries.

Cantat was released on parole in 2007.

Since then, he has very gradually returned to music, though always as a guest of other singers on stage or in albums.

On Monday, Barclay had announced that the much-anticipated launch of the album of Cantat's new band Detroit would take place on November 25th.

But the Twittersphere was quick to point out that the date coincided with the United Nations' global day to raise awareness about violence against women.

According to reports, Cantat beat Trintignant to death during an argument over a text message in a hotel room in Lithuania. He apparently waited hours before raising the alarm and Trintignant died several days later in hospital in a coma.

During the trial, Cantat originally insisted that her fatal head injuries were caused when she hit her head on a radiator but was eventually convicted by a Lithuanian court of murder with indirect intent.

After being freed, the rocker was then banned from speaking publically about the case as well as from publishing any related work or recording.

But, following guitarist Serge Teyssot-Gay’s decision to leave the group due to “emotional, personal and musical disagreements”, the band finally split in November 2010. 

Whether his new solo album will prove to be a hit has yet to be seen, and, as the tenth anniversary of Trintignant’s murder approaches, Cantat can expect a backlash from feminist and anti-domestic violence groups.

Trintignant's father is the veteran actor Jean-Louis Trintignant, who won the 2012 best actor gong at the Cannes Film Festival for his role in the Michael Haneke film Amour.

The actor has already expressed his outrage at Cantat's attempts to make a return to the music scene.

In 2011 he pulled out of  the Avignon theatre festival after hearing his daughter's murderer had been booked to play two gigs.

At the time he told Le Figaro: "Why can't people understand that there's something terrible in his way of coming back as if nothing has happened."

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WOMEN

Pope appoints French woman to senior synod post

Pope Francis has broken with Catholic tradition to appoint a woman as an undersecretary of the synod of bishops, the first to hold the post with voting rights in a body that studies major questions of doctrine.

Pope appoints French woman to senior synod post
Pope Francis has appointed Nathalie Becquart as undersecretary of the synod of bishops. She is the first woman to hold the post. Photo: AFP

Frenchwoman Nathalie Becquart is one of the two new undersecretaries named on Saturday to the synod, where she has been a consultant since 2019.

The appointment signals the pontiff's desire “for a greater participation of women in the process of discernment and decision-making in the church”, said Cardinal Mario Grech, the secretary-general of the synod.

“During the previous synods, the number of women participating as experts and listeners has increased,” he said.

“With the nomination of Sister Nathalie Becquart and her possibility of participating in voting, a door has opened.”

The synod is led by bishops and cardinals who have voting rights and also comprises experts who cannot vote, with the next gathering scheduled for autumn 2022.

A special synod on the Amazon in 2019 saw 35 female “auditors” invited to the assembly, but none could vote.

The Argentinian-born pope has signalled his wish to reform the synod and have women and laypeople play a greater role in the church.

He named Spaniard Luis Marin de San Martin as the other under undersecretary in the synod of bishops.

Becquart, 52, a member of the France-based Xaviere Sisters, has a master's degree in management from the prestigious HEC business school in Paris and studied in Boston before joining the order.

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