Piaffe Movie Explained (Plot And Ending)

Piaffe is a French psychological drama directed by Ann Oren. The film is centred on Eva, a quiet person who takes over her sibling Zara’s job as a Foley artist when Zara has a breakdown. Then, something strange happens—Eva grows a horsetail. Oh, and the tail is merely the starting point of all bizarreness. If you happen to be looking for a “what on earth was Piaffe about” article, I’m going to try my best to make sense of this film I caught at a film festival. Here’s the plot and ending of Piaffe explained; spoilers ahead.

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Piaffe Movie: Plot Explained

Who is Eva?

Eva is a coy girl who’s been living a quiet life with her sister.

Who is Zara?

Zara is a trans woman who appears to have a great career as a Foley artist, a profession of creatively creating sounds for a movie using materials they can find. By the way, the category in the Oscars that includes this work is called Best Sound Editing – correct me if I’m wrong.

What happened to Zara?

Zara seems to have developed an undisclosed psychological problem and is admitted to a hospital. It is made clear that her condition will only get worse, and she’s going to need lifelong support.

What does the tail mean?

The growth of the stump and tail appears to be a metaphor for embracing her sexuality as a trans man and breaking away from her introverted personality. 

The tail initially looks like a penis, and she even orgasms when the botanist strokes her stump. So clearly, there is a sexual element associated with it.

But it also signifies the independent woman she’s forced to become as she struggles to deliver the media to the client through the sound recording process.

We find her going to a club, hanging out by herself, and learning to raise her voice to order that vodka.

In summary, the growth represents her coming to terms with who she really is.

Who is the botanist?

It’s unclear what she was doing at the place where the botanist was experimenting with plant growth.

She is attracted to him and exposes her tail (sexuality) to him. He is smitten by her, and they two have sexual encounters, which include bondage.

Eventually, he expresses his love for her, and she’s appalled by it. For her, her interactions with him were purely physical and experimental. 

Inside the botanist chamber, when he tries to turn her around, she continues to turn away because she wants him to caress only her tail. In a sense, he’s trying to connect with her woman side, and she doesn’t want that. It’s purely experimental and physical for her, and she expects it to be the same for him. He wants more, so she leaves him.

What happens to Zara?

We see her refusing to take on the responsibility of Zara’s caretaking. I assume this person was their father or guardian asking her to take Zara home with her.

She feels that it’s her time to live and turns away from the responsibility. While it looks selfish, we don’t know what relationship the siblings shared or how close they really were. That said, Zara was earning on behalf of both of them as she knew nothing of the sound recording work. So, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call her selfish.

The visuals we see of Zara joining her in the club appear to be imagined Eva her after getting high on the substance she gets from the guy in the restroom. Given Zara is unwell, there is no way for her to be dancing away at the club. Perhaps Eva finds comfort in the thought of a healthy Zara with her, perhaps it’s her guilt of giving up on Zara, we don’t know.

Piaffe Movie: Ending Explained

The ending of Piaffe shows Zara miraculously back in good health at home, and this appears to be Eva’s imagination. Her concluding smile tells us that she’s happy with her choices and wants to live her life her way. While tragic for Zara, it’s a happy ending for Eva, who might even excel at the work.

Piaffe Movie: Conclusion

The tail hides the stump, which appears to be a stand-in for the male genitalia. The end sees Zara shaving off the hair and only the stump remains. This scene is symbolic and shows that she has fully embraced her new sexuality and is not afraid to display it. If we ignore the scene where the doctors take x-ray scans of her tail and acknowledge the growth, we could have written off the whole matter as a metaphor. However the director decided to try and go both ways, making the film a tedious, confusing watch.

What were your thoughts on the plot and ending of the movie Piaffe? Drop a comment below.