For this frustratingly opaque French release, director Claire Denis decided to throw in all the Hot Topics (alienation, serial killers, race relations, the fall of Communism, transvestitism) necessary for An Important Film For The '90s, with little success. The struggles of a female Lithuanian immigrant are contrasted (sort of) with the killing spree of an African immigrant and his French lover. There's an underlying and deeply conservative simplicity to I Can't Sleep, presumably unintentional given the director's previous work. While mainstream French culture is portrayed as dangerously banal, all those outside the culture are seen to be given to explosions of violence. The implicit explanation of the motiveless killer's behavior seems to be that, by being a gay, cross-dressing African immigrant, he's pretty much forced to become a killer. While Denis places the blame for the creation of monsters on the community which excludes outsiders, she simultaneously justifies their prejudices and offers little hope for reconciliation. What must have been meant to induce thought is more likely to prompt apathetic shrugs.

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