Alain Resnais (who died last year at age 91), the title of grand old man of French cinema could easily go to Philippe Garrel (if not André Téchiné). All three have decades of movies to their credit and are quintessentially French in their refusal to over-explicate as they deal with the various relationships their movies tackle. But while Téchiné and Resnais spread their nets of theme and content far and wide, M. Garrel has been content to traverse basically the same landscape: the difficulties of love between a man and a woman (more often a man and women). The decade in which the film takes place may change, but much else remains the same. Yet those of us who appreciate Garrel's work (TrustMovies admits to arriving at this point slowly and late), these similarities seem of little consequence. His latest, IN THE SHADOW OF WOMEN, is a case in post.
Clotilde Courau (below, right), as Merhar's partner in both love and work. (The pair are documen-tarians who are currently making a film about an old man who was a French resistance fighter back in WWII.) As is often true of men (French or otherwise), Pierre is rather self-satisfied, narcissistic and not particularly giving of his time or energy. When another attractive and available woman appears on the scene, he is more than ready to indulge himself.
Lena Paugam, below, plays "the other woman"), proves telling and on-the-mark. Both women are smarter, and more "in control" than their man. They are also more honest -- even if, yes, they're guilty of their own spying and/or infidelity.
Distrib Films and running a mere 73 minutes -- opens theatrically in New York City this Friday, January 15, at both the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the IFC Center.