L'ombre des femmes France, Switzerland 2015 – 73min.
L'ombre des femmes
Pierre and Manon are in love; they live and work together. But their peace is destroyed when Pierre meets a pretty intern, Elisabeth, with whom he starts a relationship. Elisabeth finds out that Manon also has a lover and tries to force Pierre to choose between them by telling him about it. Backed into a corner by her husband, Manon ends things with her lover. But when he finds himself incapable of controlling his jealousy even though he keeps seeing Elisabeth, Pierre asks his wife to leave.
Philippe Garrel continues to explore his usual themes: love; couples; betrayal. The story is not new and he doesn’t add a new spin to the classic predicament either. The images of Swiss cinematographer Renato Berta are magnificent, Stanislas Merhar is perfect as pouty Pierre and Clotilde Courau plays a woman who seems to be right out of a New Wave movie. But the director’s nostalgia for 70’s Paris and the paternalistic storyline are annoying. Although the title suggests that the movie is about women, the narrator confirms the contrary by stating that Manon lives “in the shadow of her husband”. Unconditional fans of Philippe Garrel will enjoy his latest obsession; others may find that In the Shadow of Women is one of his lesser films.