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I Can’t Sleep

(J’ai pas sommeil)
France 1994. Dir: Claire Denis. 100 min. 35mm

IMPORTED 35mm PRINT! The true-crime case of the “Granny Killer” who terrorized Paris’s Montmartre neighbourhood in the 1980s inspired Claire Denis’s moody, mysterious third feature, a study of social alienation and outsider status in French society. The drama centres on a trio of characters: Daïga (Yekaterina Golubeva), a young Lithuanian actress adrift in Paris; Théo (Alex Descas), a struggling musician who dreams of returning to his native Martinique; and Camille (Richard Courcet), the latter’s younger brother, a drag artist in a sadomasochistic relationship with a white boyfriend. Denis’s subversive, elusive, coolly dispassionate film is elegantly shot by her regular DP Agnès Godard. “Deceptively languid, unusually engrossing ... This is not your standard portrait of a serial killer ... Denis has created a beautifully shaped work that recognizes the dreamlike qualities of even the most awful moments in waking life” (Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly). Print courtesy of Institut Français, thanks to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York.

REVIEWS

"Directed by the idiosyncratic, intelligent, strong-willed Claire Denis ... it calmly lures viewers into an ordinary world where the sinister and the benign wear the same face."

New York Times | full review