The brittle poetry of ‘The Girl and the Spider’ – Washington Square News

“The Girl and the Spider” is a graceful film that explores how love can leave the loss of friendship in its ashes.

The sweet Swiss drama “The Girl and the Spider” (dir. Silvan Zürcher, Ramon Zürcher) captures the emotional side of a strained relationship between former roommates, Lisa and Mara, as Lisa prepares to leave their apartment. While Mara is left alone, she discovers deep feelings she has for Lisa, eventually leading her to realize that being an adult means facing life’s cruel and unforeseen plans.

Mara has a tendency to confuse those around her at the worst of times, as if trying to stop her old friend from moving forward with her life. Throughout the film, Mara struggles to accept that people should be allowed to choose their own path, even when those paths are different from hers. This flaw makes Mara an intriguing antihero – audiences feel pressured to put down roots for her to change her ways.

“The Girl and the Spider” is an alluring work that, through its symbolism, takes audiences on a roller coaster of emotions as the film follows the breakdown of Mara and Lisa’s strained friendship.

The film’s pastel color scheme draws viewers into the world of the characters. The actors wear bright yellow or blue clothes that match the bright tones of the walls in the house. This brightness, however, fades over the course of the film, reflecting dramatic changes in the characters’ relationships. As the light fades, the consequences of Mara’s romantic attachment to Lisa become more ominous. The film’s camera techniques depict this deconstruction with close-ups of the characters’ heads and focus intensely on objects and keyframes, intensifying the narrative.

As Mara confesses her romantic feelings for Lisa, friends’ conflicting perceptions about their relationship come to a head. The significance of this confession doesn’t depend on the romantic potential of this relationship, but rather how Lisa’s rejection of Mara forces her to grapple with her own flaws. Through this tense exchange, Mara realizes that she must stop prioritizing her personal needs over the autonomy of those close to her, even if it forces her to let go of an important relationship. Without Lisa, life is now less vibrant, contrasting with Mara’s perspective at the start of the film. She no longer lives with the ambition to get Lisa back – she has to face life on her own.

Although the film is in German, “The Girl and the Spider” is expressed in symbolic language that is universally understandable. The central motif of the film is a close-up of a spider – at one point, Mara explains how the disappearance of a beloved spider from her childhood left her empty, an anecdote that resembles Lisa’s departure from the Mara’s life. Like this recurring spider, “The Girl and the Spider” reminds us of the beauty of the ephemeral and the comfort that is found in the act of letting go.

Contact Egesi Iheduru at [email protected]

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