Convicted French Killer Gets Canadian Stage Gig

Controversy follows Former French rock star Bertrand Cantat after being hired to perform and compose music for a 2012 Montreal stage play.

TORONTO -- Former French rock star Bertrand Cantat has landed a controversial Montreal live theatre gig after serving four years in prison for the 2003 beating death of his girlfriend, popular French actress Marie Trintignant.

Cantat, the former lead singer of the French rock band Noir Desir, is to play a singer in a classical Greek play at Le Théâtre du Nouveau Monde in Montreal in May 2012.

“We are aware that Bernard Cantat is a controversial figure, but we believe that he has paid for what he did,” Lorraine Pintal, director of the Montreal theatre, told the La Presse newspaper on Tuesday.

Besides performing, Cantat will also pen music for Des Femmes, a play based on three tragedies by Sophocles from Quebec director and playwright Wajdi Mouawad.

Quebec film director Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies, the Oscar-nominated Canadian theatrical drama, was based on Mouawad’s original stage play. News of Cantat’s hire brought immediate condemnation from Quebec womens’ rights groups.

Manon Monastesse, director of a consortium of 37 women’s shelters in Quebec, said Cantat should be barred from the Montreal theatre for not explaining his crime publicly.

"We are quite perplexed about this choice," Monastesse told the Canadian Press news service.

The French rock star was released from prison in 2008 after serving half of an eight-year sentence for a  manslaughter conviction. Cantat maintained that the fatal blow that cost Trintignant her life had been an accident.