The Dedramatization of Violence in Claire Denis's I Can't Sleep

Nikolaj F D'Origny Lubecker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Throughout the twentieth century a significant tradition in French thought promoted a highly dramatized reading of the Hegelian struggle for recognition. In this tradition a violent struggle was regarded as an indispensable means to the realization of both individual and social ideals. The following article considers Claire Denis's film I Can't Sleep (J'ai pas sommeil, 1994) as an oblique challenge to this tradition. I Can't Sleep performs a careful dedramatization of an extremely violent story and thereby points to the possibility of an alternative form of co-existence outside a logic of conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-33
Number of pages17
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Claire Denis
  • recognition
  • violence
  • Georges Sorel
  • Alexandre Kojeve
  • subjectivity
  • Roland Barthes


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