A warrior woman holds a sword over her shoulders in 'SHE IS CONANN.'

‘She Is Conann’ Is a Wild Reimagining of the Barbarian Legend

3.5/5 les Barbares

In She Is Conann, French director Bertrand Mandico takes audiences on an unexpected journey through the six lives of the eponymous hero. She Is Conann has everything: lesbians, a dog-faced demon, cannibalism, and glitter.

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The film is loosely inspired by Conan the Barbarian, but takes a different approach, with a woman playing the lead role. There are also no constraints of time or place as we see Conann go through different lifetimes. From a sword-wielding warrior to an artist in the Bronx during the 1980s, to a future style icon, Conann is a barbarian of many ages. She Is Conann never holds back on gore and violence; in many ways, it is the most disturbing iteration of the Conan story, but the near-poetic dialogue helps balance it all out.

Although Conann lives many lives with different faces, two constants remain with her: Sanja, a red-haired warrior woman, and Rainer, the hellhound. Rainer acts as both a guide and a chaotic influence for Conann. An anachronistic figure, Rainer wears a bejeweled jacket and takes photographs with a flash camera. He pushes Conann to embrace her darker side and seek blood. The only other person whose bloodlust equals Conann’s is Sanja. Both Rainer and Sanja love Conann, yet Conann’s greatest love is herself.

Conann begins the film as a teenager who must consume a human heart to stay alive among a band of barbarian women. With the help of Rainer, Conann eventually grows strong and takes her revenge on them, starting her journey as the barbarian queen. She only grows into her next life when she meets and embraces her next incarnation, usually with a kiss.

It is an interesting and intimate way to examine how we accept ourselves as we change over the years. Conann doesn’t remain young throughout the film; she grows old and openly accepts her changes with grace. One line in particular—”Killing one’s youth is an act of barbarism”—stands out as a commentary on our love of youth culture. Conann is just as desired and ferocious in her older age as she was in her youth. She will always reign as the barbarian queen.

This film isn’t for everyone, but it’s still a bloody good time. She Is Conann is playing at select film festivals and theaters.

(featured image: Altered Innocence)

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D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.