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Philippe Garrel gets a long overdue release in Australia


Potential Films presents In the Shadow of Women. The drama by acclaimed French director Philippe Garrel will be out on DVD March 22.

A married couple who make low-budget documentaries, and split directing and editing duties, are working on a project about the French Resistance. Their names are Pierre (Stanislas Merhar) and Manon (Clotilde Courau). When not making films they live off odd jobs. Pierre not unlike most mediocre filmmakers isn't aware of his many limitations. He meets a young American trainee, Elisabeth (Lena Paugam), who soon becomes his mistress. But he doesn't want to leave the wife who idolises him. He wants to keep both women. Elisabeth discovers that Manon also has a lover and informs Pierre who in turn begins to spy on his wife.

Keeping these dangerous liaisons secret is only part of the comical behaviour. The warped jealousies, as they arise, deepen and layer the amusing scenarios afflicting the unknowing participants in this love triangle.

Pierre eventually breaks off the affair and returns to Manon, the woman he truly loves. Feeling betrayed he begins tormenting Manon who discovers his affair with Elisabeth and this causes a rift between them.

Garrel, who was married to Nico of the Velvet Underground, has long been a popular underground figure for film critics. A disciple of Godard and a singular New Wave inspired artist to have emerged following the Paris demonstrations of 1968 has built up a fervent following among cineastes in recent years.

“The film's sense of humor is so dry that it belatedly reveals the setup for a few jokes only when the punchlines are delivered at the end,” raves Slant Magazine.

“The breadth of the frame allows for splayed-out post-coital scenes,” writes Nick Pinkerton in Film Comment, “as well as a variety of studies in the ways that people cohabiting space can set one another on edge without saying a word.”

The New Yorker observes "In the Shadow of Women resounds with a quiet astonishment."

French with English subtitles.