In the gay-themed drama What We Have, Maurice (Maxime Desmons) moves from France to a small town in Northern Canada, seeking a new life in order to distance himself from a trauma that’s scarred him deeply on both a psychological and emotional level. He isn’t just shy and introvert though – he’s disconnected from anyone he interacts with, including the men he sees for sneaky and shallow sexcapades. A theatre actor, the French man earns a role in a small local company’s rendition of Moliere’s The Miser but in order to make ends meet he also starts tutoring Allan (Alex Ozerov), a teenager who clearly struggles with way more than his French grades.
When Maurice spots Allan training for the school team at the swimming pool he attends, the man witnesses his pupil being bullied and develops a protective attitude towards the boy. But Allan, who’s admittedly confused about his sexuality, and appreciates Maurice’s care and concern, misinterprets his French mentor’s intentions. Meanwhile, Maurice has been seeing Michael (Jean-Michel Le Gal), a lovely man who works at the theatre company and is looking for something stable but Maurice has a hard time letting go of himself emotionally. As the whole bully situation with Allan escalates, Maurice gets more involved in the drama and his emotional scars re-open as flashback of his childhood are interspersed to progressively reveal the secrets of his past. Will he be able to finally make peace with it?
“The mega-narrative of self-acceptance and of coming to terms with what appears to be socially impossible, ties these two films together in interesting ways.”
— Sanita Fejzić, Apt613
“Parisian Maurice is a brilliant character. His brooding disposition and masked aching for affection is so touching that you find yourself clutching your own chest for his confliction.”
— Danielle Marr, The eXTRAmile
“Si vous ne deviez voir qu’un seul film aux RVCQ cette année, c’est sans doute celui là!”
Did You Know?
It’s impossible to ignore the meta quality of the film What We Have as writer-director-star Maxime Desmons has indeed moved from France to Canada in real life. Raised in a family of butchers, he escaped the family tradition and in 1996 graduated from the Strasbourg National Theatre School. He acted on stage in France & Quebec and also appeared in award-winning features of French directors (Pascale Ferran, Eric Forestier, Cédric Kahn). He also directed stage plays in Paris and at the Rome Biennale before immigrating to Canada in 2003 to pursue his dreams and creative aspirations. In 2008, he graduated from the Canadian Film Center Director’s Lab and has directed a few short films that toured the international film festival circuit. Here