En Avoir Ou Pas

on June 06, 1997 by Lael Lowenstein
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   The debut film from Laetitia Masson, "To Have Some or Not" is marked by an emotional honesty rare in contemporary cinema. Sandrine Kiberlain plays Alice, a worker in a fish cannery, who loses her job and leaves her boyfriend in Boulogne-sur-Mer in the same week. Alone, she heads to Lyon, where she meets Bruno (Arnaud Gio-vaninetti), a young construction worker who's as isolated and lonely as Alice. Though their tense introduction in a hotel bar is anything but promising, what follows is the story of two lost souls who come together and in the process find themselves.
   Impeccably acted with astonishing grit by both Kiberlain (a rapidly rising star on the Continent) and Giovaninetti (whose looks and vulnerability make him France's Johnny Depp), the film has several moments of quiet power. One heartbreaking scene has a desperate Alice singing for a prospective employer, her dubious voice cracking painfully. There, as in the bar scene when Alice and Bruno meet, Masson favors extremely long, fluid master shots to build psychological tension. It's a testament to the strength of her actors and the tightness of her direction that she carries it off. Masson's bracing emotional realism is the heart of this film, which captures the essence of a twentysomething man and woman struggling to find their place in the world much more effectively than "Reality Bites" ever dared to imagine.    Starring Sandrine Kiberlain and Arnaud Giovaninetti. Directed and written by Laetitia Masson. Produced by Francois Cuel and Georges Ben-ayoun. No distributor set. Drama. French-language; subtitled. Not yet rated. Running time: 90 min.
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