Piaffe (2022) Locarno Film Festival 2022

August 12th, 2022
Author: Meredith Taylor



Dir: Ann Oren | Cast: Simone Bucio, Sebastian Rudolph | Germany, drama 86′

A game of willpower and discipline sees a young women transform herself – with alarming results – in this stylish arthouse drama from German director and visual artist Ann Oren, competing for the Golden Leopard at this year’s Locarno Film festival 2022.

Sharing script duties with Thais Guisasola, Oren brings her skill as a visual artist to bear in  this unique piece of filmmaking driven forward by its distinctive soundscape and pristine cinematic allure captured by Carlos Vasquez’ camerawork.

The shy main character Eva (Bucio) is forced to take on her sister Zara’s job as a Foley artist when she suffers some sort of nervous collapse. Replicating the accurate sound of horse hooves trotting on the spot in the famous “Piaffe” manoeuvre – along with those recreating  training and dressage positions – is no mean feat, and physically quite exhausting for Eva as she struggles to make the soundtrack for a commercial featuring a horse. But then something weird happens: Eva actually starts growing a horse tail – complete with coarse, dark hair – that luckily matches her own shade of chestnut. And somehow her newfound excrescence gives her considerable agency, allowing her to turn her love life around.

Oren has certainly created a curio: her inspired plot line and acute attention to detail is laudable, certainly qualifying her for a pole position as one of this year’s most original and intriguing arthouse features in the main competition. MT


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