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French artist Jacques Picoux dies after fall from building (update)

2016/10/17 13:15:10

Photo from Lee Yen-jong's Facebook page.

Taipei, Oct. 17 (CNA) Jacques Picoux (畢安生), a retired lecturer on French language and literature at National Taiwan University (NTU) and a painter, has died after falling to the ground from the top floor of a 10-story building on Sunday, Taipei police said.

Local police were informed of the incident in Wenshan District on Sunday afternoon and later identified the dead man as the French native, who played a role in Hou Hsiao-hsien's (侯孝賢) film "the Assassin."

Police concluded after a preliminary investigation that Picoux fell to the ground from his rented 10th-floor apartment and died at once.

They said they did not find any signs of fighting or a struggle in Picoux's apartment or on the building's rooftop and have ruled out the possibility of foul play.

But the investigation will continue to more clearly determine the circumstances behind the fall, the police said.

Picoux died at the age of 67, less than one month before his 68th birthday. The death shocked people acquainted with the French teacher, who was a translator for Malaysian-Chinese filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang (蔡明亮).

When told of the news, Tsai seemed stunned. After several seconds of silence, he said "What? When? (I am) very shocked, very shocked," according to an Apple Daily report on Monday.

Describing Picoux as an artist who was an excellent painter, Tsai was cited by the paper as saying he felt sad after hearing the bad news.

Picoux, who held a master's degree from Université Paris Diderot (Paris Diderot University, also known as Paris 7), had lived in Taipei since 1979, when he and compatriot Francoise Zylberberg came to Taiwan for a two-year exchange program between Paris 7 and NTU.

After the project, he decided to stay and continued teaching at NTU until his retirement in 2004.

Apart from teaching, Picoux was also an artist specializing in collage painting. Also a fan of film art, he served as a translator for Tsai and many other ethnic Chinese filmmakers, including Hou, Wong Kar-Wai (王家衛) and Zhang Yimou (張藝謀).

He was best known for playing the character "Kong Kong," a sorcerer in the 2015 martial arts film, "the Assassin," and for helping with the film's promotion in Europe.

Picoux's partner Tseng Ching-chao (曾敬超), with whom he lived for 35 years, died of cancer last October. He fell into despair after losing his loved one, said Lee Yen-jong (李晏榕), a friend of Picoux's in Taipei, in a post on her Facebook page last year.

Lee, who was a candidate of the Green Social Democratic Party in Taiwan's legislative elections on Jan. 16, revealed in the post that Picoux felt powerless when seeing his partner suffer at a hospital during an emergency resuscitation procedure authorized by Tseng's family members.

She described the two people as "strangers" under the law despite being close to each other in real life.

Tseng was the global agent of renowned Chinese actress Gong Li (鞏俐).

(By Elizabeth Hsu)
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