“Conann” the Barbarian and the Dog-Headed Woman

“Conann” the Barbarian and the Dog-Headed Woman


Each Bertrand Mandico film seems to contain a scintillating concentrate of the history of cinema, injecting a thousand references (from the surrealism of Cocteau to the excess of Fellini), magnifying the beauty of the actresses in 35 millimeters, while filming the characters as polymorphous creatures , able to take on the harshest or deviant roles – young rapist men (who will be punished) in Wild Boys (2017), lawless cowboys in After Blue (Dirty Paradise) (2021). Blurring genres, the director and screenwriter born in 1971, trained in animation at the Parisian school of Gobelins, continually seeks to explore new poisonous, playful, surreal avenues, with overflowing (fluid) eroticism.

His third feature film, Conann , inspired by the heroic fantasy novel Conan the Barbarian (1932), by Robert E. Howard (1906-1936), is in a more angry vein, even if the second degree, allied with handcrafted special effects, allows the film to remain levitating.

Conann is part of a monster work, with many heads. The film should be distinguished from the play that Bertrand Mandico began to create, in November 2020, at the invitation of Philippe Quesne, when he directed the Théâtre des Amandiers, in Nanterre. The prolongation of the Covid-19 epidemic had compromised the project, but the filmmaker managed to film it in situ, under the title La Déviante Comédie , to be discovered soon. In addition, two medium-length films act as satellites, Us, the Barbarians , and Rainer, a Vicious Dog in a Skull Valley. They will be scheduled on France 2 on December 17, at the same time as the show concocted by Bertrand Mandico and his gang (Elina Löwensohn, Nathalie Richard, Christophe Bier, etc.), which we have no doubt will shake the coconut tree.

Successive moults

Selected for the Filmmakers’ Fortnight in Cannes, the film opens with the camera gaze of a masked hostess, her clairvoyant eyes announcing a catastrophe. At his side, Conann, the queen of the barbarians (Françoise Brion), powdered face blending into the silver lamé decor, arrives in hell, at the end of a long life. “What a privilege to be dead,” whispers a dog-headed hybrid creature, Rainer (Elina Löwensohn), in a jubilant evocation of Fassbinder’s black romanticism. In his black jacket, the evil being sniffs the lady while announcing the protocol: Conann will be condemned to relive the atrocities she has committed since, as a teenager, she swore to avenge her mother, savagely executed under her control. panicked eyes.

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