Tue, Oct 18, 2016 - Page 3 News List

French ex-lecturer falls to death

‘STRANGERS’ UNDER THE LAW:Jacques Picoux was said to be in despair after losing his partner of 35 years to cancer, with the relationship not officially recognized

Staff Writer, with CNA

A retired National Taiwan University (NTU) French language and literature lecturer fell to his death from the top floor of a 10-story building in Taipei on Sunday, police said.

Police were informed about the incident in Wenshan District (文山) on Sunday afternoon and later identified the body as that of 67-year-old Jacques Picoux.

After a preliminary investigation, police said Picoux fell from his rented 10th-floor apartment and died instantly.

No signs of fighting or struggle were found in the apartment or on the building’s rooftop, police said, adding that they have ruled out foul play.

The investigation would continue to determine the circumstances behind Picoux’s death, police said.

Picoux’s 68th birthday was less than one month away.

The news of his death shocked the people who knew the French teacher, who was also a translator for Malaysian-Chinese filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang (蔡明亮).

Describing Picoux as an excellent painter, Tsai said he was saddened to hear of his death.

Picoux, who held a master’s degree from Universite Paris Diderot, had been living in Taipei since 1979, when he and Francoise Zylberberg came to Taiwan for a two-year exchange program held between Diderot and NTU.

After the program, Picoux decided to stay and continue teaching at NTU until his retirement in 2004.

Apart from teaching, Picoux specialized in collage painting.

Also a fan of film, he worked as a translator for Chinese-speaking filmmakers, including Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢), Wong Kar-wai (王家衛) and Zhang Yimou (張藝謀).

He played the character “Kong Kong” in last year’s martial-arts film The Assassin (刺客聶隱娘), and helped promote the film in Europe.

Picoux’s partner, with whom he lived for 35 years, died of cancer in October last year.

Picoux was in despair after losing his partner, his friend Lee Yen-jong (李晏榕) wrote last year on Facebook.

Lee, who was a candidate from the Green Social Democratic Party in the legislative elections on Jan. 16, said that Picoux felt powerless after seeing his partner suffer at a hospital during an emergency resuscitation procedure authorized by his partner’s relatives.

She described the two as “strangers” under the law, despite being close to each other.

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