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.