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    Directed by



    81 min

    • English


    Tormented by a mysterious urge, Reed stoops over his child at night, ready to kill the baby with an ice pick, a weapon which has had a bad name since Basic Instinct. Then a mysterious voice tells him how he can rid himself of this dangerous compulsion. He must stab someone else to death. He prepares everything meticulously. He tells his wife he is going on a business trip. In his suitcase, bondage attributes and the ice pick. In the hotel, he phones a call girl. While he waits for her to arrive, obviously nervous, he mimes the murder he’s about to commit. Nicolas Pesce based this alternately detached and expressive psychothriller – with surrealist horror and a dash of comedy – on the novel by Japanese cult writer Murakami Ryū, who also provided the material for Miike Takashi’s notorious film, Audition. It can’t be a surprise that the encounter between Reed (Christopher Abbott) and the prostitute Jackie (Mia Wasikowska), who has her own neuroses, takes an unexpected turn. Blood flows, but not the way the confused Reed had thought. Can she see through him? Maybe Jackie is living out her own SM fantasy. This evokes flashbacks and horror visions for Reed in which his mother also plays a role. Even Freud makes an entrance in this unpredictable, sexually charged duel that could turn into a fatal contest or a liberating catharsis. Is this what takes place behind those anonymous windows in the stylised cityscape forming the backdrop?


    • International Critics Award (International Competition) - Neuchâtel IFFF
    • Imaging The Future Award For Best Production Design - Neuchâtel IFFF



    Christopher Abbott
    Mia Wasikowska
    Laia Costa
    Marin Ireland
    Maria Dizzia
    Wendell Pierce
    Nicolas Pesce
    Zachary Galler
    Sofia Subercaseaux
    Randall Poster


    Piercing plays out like a swift tribute to Takashi Miike’s “Audition” filtered through Quentin-Tarantinoesque exuberance.

    Eric Kohn, Indiewire

    A psychosexual horror film with a seam of black comedy lying under the surface, Nicolas Pesce's Piercing offers a sadomasochistic two-hander and dares viewers to figure out who's on top at any given moment.

    John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

    The film is expertly crafted with jewel-toned cinematography, terrifically sleazy saxophone music, and performances by Abbott and Wasikowska that take turns seizing command.

    Amy Nicholson, Variety

    Nicolas Pesce

    Nicolas Pesce


    Nicolas is an American writer/director born in 1990 in New York, USA. He has directed over 30 music videos for various artists, including Snoop Dogg, The Black Keys, and Afrika Bambaataa. He is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and served as assistant editor on Josh Mond’s James White, which stars Cynthia Nixon and Christopher Abbott, and premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Pesce also developed an animated series starring Malcolm McDowell, J.K. Simmons, and Colin Quinn. His film THE EYES OF MY MOTHER premiered at Sundance FF. PIERCING (2018) is his second feature.

    Selected Filmography