‘Piaffe’ Trailer: Foreplay Becomes Horseplay in a Twisted Equine Fable from Visual Artist Ann Oren

‘Piaffe’ Trailer: Foreplay Becomes Horseplay in a Twisted Equine Fable from Visual Artist Ann Oren

With echoes of Catherine Breillat, Lucille Hadzhihalillovic, and Peter Strickland, “Piaffe” rides a deep tail of sexual awakening.

The feature directorial debut of Berlin-based visual artist Ann Oren, “Piaffe” follows Eva (Simone Bucio), an introverted and unqualified woman who grows a horse’s tail while foleying sound for a commercial about an equine-inspired drug.

Per the synopsis, as Eva acclimates to the new job, her obsession with creating the perfect horse sounds grows into something more tangible. Eva harnesses this new physicality, becoming more confident and empowered, and lures an unassuming botanist into an intriguing game of submission.

“Piaffe” centers on Eva’s sexual awakening through a dominant-submissive relationship and through animal-centric affect. The film is shot on 16mm and originally debuted at the 2022 Locarno International Festival.

Sebastian Rudolph and Simon Jaikiriuma Paetau also star.

“Piaffe” is co-written by director Oren and Thais Guisaola, with Kristof Gerega, Sophie Ahrens, and Fabien Altenried producing.

The IndieWire review compared lead actress Bucio to Isabelle Adjani with her “all livewire physicality and wide-eyed reactions” onscreen. “‘Piaffe’ plants seeds on a rich seam of subjects — from gender and sexuality, to nature and control — without synthesizing them in an easy-to-read ending,” the review read. “It is the kind of film that demands to be seen and written about by a wide variety of people, for it is unlikely that any two people will come away feeling like they watched the same picture.”

The review continued, “What is unequivocally impressive is the intentionality Oren displays over pacing, tone, and detail. Each prop selected and each color used lands with deliberate affect, from the midnight blue riding shirt a newly confident Eva wears as she looks at herself in a dusty mirror, to the carmine roses that match her lips in hue and her tail in bloom. Nothing is phoned in here, everything is calibrated to a unique frequency so that even though you can trace the influence of Bette Gordon, Catherine Breillat, and Lucille Hadzhihalillovic, ‘Piaffe’ is its own playful and majestic beast.”

“Piaffe” premieres August 25 in New York at the Quad Cinema and will be released in Los Angeles September 15 at Landmark’s Nuart Theatre courtesy of Oscilloscope Laboratories.

Check out the trailer, an IndieWire exclusive, below.