IN THE SHADOW OF WOMEN
L'OMBRE DES FEMMES
FRANCE, SWITZERLAND • DRAMA, ROMANCE • 73 MINS • 2015 • M
DIRECTOR: PHILIPPE GARREL
CAST: CLOTILDE COURAU, STANISLAS MERHAR, LENA PAUGAM, VIMALA PONS
Titan of French cinema Philippe Garrel again casts his penetrating eye over the intricacies of love, infidelity and the male ego in this rich and complex drama, which was selected to open Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2015.
Against exquisite, loving photography of Paris, the film explores the romantic and professional relationship of documentary filmmakers Pierre (Stanislas Merhar, Almayer’s Folly) and Manon (Clotilde Courau, Babysitting – Festival 2015). Pierre embarks on an affair with young intern Elisabeth (debutante Lena Paugam), and revels in his newfound love triangle. Yet Pierre soon discovers Manon has romantic secrets of her own. Can his edifice of fantasy handle the true desires of others?
Courau and Paugam shine in their strong and nuanced roles, while Merhar fearlessly portrays wounded masculinity. Masterfully structured, elegant and unflinching, few directors have such ability to tunnel beneath the surface of relationships between men and women and reveal the depths of jealousy and resilience at the core. This is another late highlight of Garrel’s extraordinary career, and contemporary French cinema at its very best.