Close Up

8 - 27 July 2019: I Can't Sleep


I Can’t Sleep
Claire Denis, 1994, 110 min, 35mm
French and Russian with English subtitles

"Denis' mid-career masterpiece is based on the shocking true story of Thierry Paulin, a gay, black, HIV-positive drug dealer, transvestite and serial killer who preyed on elderly Parisian women during the mid-1980s. The mysterious, sensitive – but appropriately troubling – exploration of Paulin's crimes offered by I Can't Sleep is, however, worlds away from such a sensationalistic description of the facts. By refracting the story through the point of view of a young Lithuanian woman, an illegal immigrant struggling to make ends meet, Denis instead offers an offbeat vision of the modern world as a fragile community of outsiders whose search for financial, emotional and sexual sustenance remains under the menacing eye of ubiquitous and frighteningly impersonal authorities." – Harvard Film Archive

Presented with the support of the Institut Francais. Part of our season on Claire Denis.