Piaffe (2023)

Piaffe (2023)

A sublime mix of experimental and sensual storytelling that will change the way you look at horses forever



Bjørn Melhus, Josef Ostendorf, Lea Draeger
86 min


Horsing around doesn't even begin to cover it.

What it's about

After her sister falls ill, Eva steps in for her to foley the sound for a commercial featuring a horse; next thing she knows, her body starts changing too.

The take

Visual artist Ann Oren's first foray into feature-length filmmaking is a sensual delight and a gift that keeps on giving. Oren approaches her film with sincere dedication to every single building block: Piaffe looks, sounds, and feels sensational while being a fairly modest production. A true indie film, Piaffe verges on experimentation as a young woman named Eva (Simone Bucio) takes over the job of a foley artist from her sister. Even though she's under-qualified, she tries her best t0 come up with the sounds for a horse-themed commercial to no avail. However, in the process, she notices a bump on her lower back that grows into a horse's tail. Piaffe is a tale of metamorphosis, not only of the flesh, but also of the heart, as the themes it explores are also directly related to sexuality, submission, and, of course, love as a manifestation of all those things.

What stands out

If there is a carnal cinema canon, Piaffe would be its latest addition. Not only is the film brave enough to show bodies in flux, a cross-species contamination between human, animal, and flora, but it also captures the flow of energies between them. A tribute to processes, both internal and external, it feels embodied. Shot on Super 16mm, Piaffe has a texture you want to brush against and the mere act of looking here turns into touch. The film offers a truly synaesthetic experience when eroticism comes into play: we see Eva discovering her tail, her ambivalence and fondness growing in parallel. Later, there is a largely silent scene where she meets a man who places a red rose in her mouth with the tenderness reserved for all consensual kink practices – it is truly one of the most arousing, but minimalistic sequences in contemporary European cinema, to say the least.


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