In the Shadow of Women

Pierre and Manon are poor. They make documentary films without a cent and they get by with odd jobs. Pierre meets a young intern, Elisabeth and she becomes his mistress. But Pierre doesn’t want to leave Manon for Elisabeth – he wants to keep them both. One day Elisabeth, Pierre’s young mistress, discovers that Manon, Pierre’s wife, has a lover. And she tells Pierre. Pierre’s attention turns back to Manon because she’s the one he loves. And because he feels betrayed, he beseeches Manon and neglects Elisabeth. Manon breaks it off with her lover right away. There’s a good chance that’s because she truly loves Pierre. [Synopsis courtesy of Directors’ Fortnight]


The film opens with a man leaving his wife and daughter and, in a series of brief conversations, observed gestures, chance encounters and impulsive acts, tells the story of the relationships that flounder and thrive in the wake of this decision. Louis Garrel, the director’s son and frequent star, plays the husband who moves into a garret apartment with his fellow actor girlfriend (Anne Mouglalis) as they struggle with fidelity and the temptation to give up their art for an easier life.