In the Shadow of Women: perhaps the greatest mystery of Philippe Garrel’s romance is why would two women be so madly in love with the male protagonist. In spite of his gruff charm, the man is perenially blue and a documentarian with no nose for the truth in front of him. Maybe that is the point about love the film is making. In any case, this is a simple story about romantic relationships, but it is engaging nevertheless. Stanislas Merhar, as the said protagonist, is effective with his moody character; Clotilde Courau, as his wife, is good and has more emotional amplitude to play with; Lena Paugam, the other woman in his life, is merely OK. Director of photography Renato Berta’s black-and-white images are beautiful; composer Jean-Louis Aubert’s musical score is beautiful but very limited in its use.