Horsing around doesn't even begin to cover it.
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.
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.