The Girl and the Spider

The Girl and the Spider ★★★

That’s something I find is part of the human condition, that there’s this desire for connecting and building up in unity with another human being—to not be alone anymore. But I’ve found that one fact of life is that, as humans, we are isolated.

—Silvan Zürcher

Had the chance to interview Ramon and Silvan Zürcher about The Girl and the Spider, a film that's a very natural follow-up to The Strange Little Cat. It's more ambitious—the film has more characters, more complex emotions, more sets, and takes place over a longer period of time—but still manages to be intimate and mellifluous. Unsurprisingly, the best parts of Spider are things felt in Cat: thoughtful choreographing within tight-ish medium shots, charming sound design that would make for an enjoyable audio-only experience, and the Zürcher brothers' uncanny ability to capture the immensity of feelings that underline what's not verbally communicated by the characters.

I laughed multiple times, even on second viewing, because of how sensuous this film regularly is. There's delight in the smallest instances of touch (e.g. when we see Lisa and Mara handing off the spider), in the elegant movement of these actors (e.g. the scene with the blue ladder), and in all its small sounds (e.g. the puncturing of the cup). And when you get immersed in that sort of headspace, the supernatural and surreal elements (which, admittedly, aren't as strong as they could be) mirror the out-of-body feeling that suffuses the tension these characters feel.

More than anything, this film is a reminder that impermanence is a painful thing: relationships are never in stasis, and we're always just looking for meaningful connections. Early in the film, we see a broken PDF with various symbols, numbers and letters all scrambled up, this document of a floorplan suddenly rendered nonsensical. When Mara clicks the desktop icon again, it returns to normal. If only we could return to the life that defined our halcyon days just as easily. Instead, we trudge through the awkwardness and strife of communication, of changing and newfound relationships. It's never easy.

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