The Girl And The Spider

***1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

The Girl And The Spider
"The Zürchers carefully construct their web of relationships, showing how a small vibration somewhere can lead to unexpected consequences elsewhere." | Photo: Beauvoir Films

Relationships mix, simmer and boil in the cauldron of domestic spaces in the films of Ramon Zürcher, who follows up his 2013 film The Strange Little Cat with this second film in what is intended to be a trilogy about "human togetherness", this time co-directed and co-written by his twin brother Silvan, stepping up from his previous producer's role.

The shifting of emotions is matched by a physical restructuring of apartments as Lisa (Liliane Amuat) prepares to move out of the place she shares with Mara (Henriette Confurius) and Markus (Ivan Georgiev) and into a new one - a place where she will live independently - the camera watching the interplay not just between the three of them but a wide ensemble cast, who come and go over the course of a couple of days.

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The Zürchers have a keen eye for the tensions of the everyday and a potential for acts of violence - so that a spilled drink bleeding across a table or a box cutter in the bathroom take on an element of danger you wouldn't expect. There's a frisson between Lisa and Mara, though exactly what is left unspoken, there's a suspicion of a relationship beyond roommates or at least something unrequited on the part of Mara, who seems to carry with her a cloud of loss manifesting itself in microaggressions. Although initially feeling a little bit shapeless, the dynamics emerge by degrees, as Lisa's slightly abrasive relationship with her mother Astrid (Ursina Lardi) makes its presence felt, while Astrid also has a flirtation with handyman Jurek (Andre Hennicke), whose younger sidekick Jan (Flurin Giger) wafts through the apartments as an object of lust. Lisa's new and old neighbours bring additional tensions to the atmosphere, so that the entire film becomes a very big, oscillating mood.

As a sizeable spider wanders about unrestricted and a four-legged sponge thief breaks the atmosphere with his bark, the Zürchers carefully construct their web of relationships, showing how a small vibration somewhere can lead to unexpected consequences elsewhere. For all the people here, the dominant feeling is one of loneliness and disconnection, conversations unspoken or dates unarranged. That most close quarters of activities, sex, becomes more physical than emotional while conversations at one remove thrum with unspoken feelings as the opposing desires for connection and independence spark against one another, crackling with unresolved possibilities.

Reviewed on: 11 Mar 2021
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The Girl And The Spider packshot
Tensions ebb and flow as a young woman moves apartment.

Festivals:

BIFF 2021

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If you like this, try:

The Strange Little Cat