“She Is Conann,” Bertrand Mandico’s gonzo-feminist riff on “Conan the Barbarian,” performs like an opera from hell. Within the first jiffy, Rainer (Elina Löwensohn) — a humanoid hound who may very well be associated to the Crypt Keeper — terrorizes an outdated girl wrapped in foil. The creature, who wears a boxy leather-based jacket and aviator sun shades, struts round and monologues in a snakelike whisper, after which bites off a piece of the girl’s flesh.

Rainer leads the hapless dame right into a glowing cavern, the place the queen of the barbarians herself, Conann, is perched on a excessive tower, clutching a human coronary heart that appears extra like a Christmas tree decoration.

“She Is Conann” is a very nasty form of sci-fi horror film, sprinkled with a little bit of glam-rock fairy mud. It unfolds nearly totally in a foggy underworld that resembles an elaborate haunted home. Versus computer-generated imagery, Mandico depends on constructed units and sensible results, which give the movie a stagey really feel. Its unabashedly extreme scenes of violence additionally supply a gross-out realism.

With Rainer as our information, the plot loosely revolves round Conann’s ascension to energy by way of the ages. First, she’s an harmless white teenager (Claire Duburcq) who witnesses a band of sadistic warriors chop her mom in half; then, she’s an androgynous 20-something (Christa Théret) who seems just like the offspring of David Bowie. Within the lengthiest act, she’s a Black girl with a fierce buzz lower and metallic threads (Sandra Parfait) dwelling in a metropolis together with her girlfriend.

It’s extra of a fever dream than an precise story, providing a queer counternarrative to the macho imaginative and prescient of the legendary warrior that’s as hypnotic as it’s gnarly.

She Is Conann
Not rated. Operating time: 1 hour 45 minutes. In theaters.

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