Twenty years ago, when the actress Marie Trintignant succumbed to the blows inflicted by her lover, the singer of the group Noir Désir Bertrand Cantat, no one was still using the word feminicide. The music journalist at the French magazine Le Point who wrote this essay, Anne-Sophie Jahn, was a teenager at the time and had not followed the case carefully.
Years later, she immersed herself in researching the drama with the aim of making it the chapter of a book she was working on. But what she reads stuns: “The death of Marie Trintignant was not an accident,” she concludes immediately. She then immerses herself in the press articles relating this story which has made headlines far and wide. His investigation lasted six years. And she is exciting.
The journalist traces the thread of events to the meeting between Marie Trintignant and Bertrand Cantat. Questioning all the actors in this story who were kind enough to speak to him, including the mother of the actress, Nadine Trintignant. She probes their jealous, teenage affair, discovering the first signs of a toxic relationship early on. Come back to this last shoot in Lithuania where the singer accompanies him and isolates him from the rest of the team.
His story is gripping. And sends shivers down my spine. We understand why Bertrand Cantat, with his aura of a flayed poet and his undeniable charisma, managed to retain the favor of a large part of public opinion during the media war that surrounded his trial. His investigation also shows how he posed as a victim and managed to impose an omerta on everyone around him; as well as how this silence led to the suicide of his wife, Krisztina Rády, years after her release from prison. Until, with the birth of the movement
The journalist takes a clear position and does not hide it. She meets an ex-convict of the singer, who details the many privileges to which he was entitled in prison. She even goes so far as to reproduce the “back and forth” blows of Bertrand Cantat on a comforter, which reinforces his conviction that the moment he hit Marie Trintignant, he intended to “destroy” her.
“We forgive Bertrand Cantat for having killed his mistress with his fists and struck his wife. But Polanski cannot be forgiven for raping a young girl 40 years ago,” she wrote. Through her investigation, she seeks to understand the mysteries of this case, publishing articles on the subject which earned her a defamation lawsuit from the principal concerned, but also insults and threats from readers which she reproduces in full – so that the word loosens up and that women stop keeping silent about the different forms of violence of which they can be victims. Because silence, in his opinion, “remains the most formidable weapon of violent men”.
Throughout the pages, we understand above all that attacking certain personalities requires courage and conviction. And that’s what makes it a must-read for anyone with a passion for books of the caliber of She Said, on the Weinstein affair.