Ramon and Silvan Zürcher deliver another droll, primary-colored wonder that never reveals its secrets — sexual, sinister, and otherwise — with “The Girl and the Spider.” Here, the brothers turn their camera from “The Strange Little Cat” (their previous film) to another creature that proves a point of connection for the residents of a Berlin apartment complex teeming with troubled people whose secret longings are rising to the surface. “The Girl and the Spider” won the Best Director prize at the 2021 Berlin Film Festival, and after a hearty festival rollout that included Toronto and New York and inclusion on Cahiers du Cinema’s list of last year’s 10 best films, it’s finally coming to U.S. theaters. Exclusively on IndieWire, watch the trailer for the film below.
“The Girl and the Spider” opens with a PDF floor plan of an apartment layout, and ends with a young woman perhaps vanishing. The tantalizing mysteries in the Zürchers’ film never quite reveal themselves in this story about two roommates torn asunder and to separate middle-class flats in Berlin. While the mad entropy of this chamber piece — filled with doppelgängers, women coming and going from rooms, as T.S. Eliot might say — will drive some viewers barking insane, those patient and curious enough to soak in the fuzzy vibes of the film’s painterly reds and yellows and key into this film’s odd rhythms will find much to love.
One half of the splitting duo (and it’s never clear if she and her now-ex-roommate were ever romantic) is Mara (Henriette Confurius), whose odd tactile obsessions puncture the entire film and are immediately announced in the opening scene: She is oddly soothed by the sight and sound of a jackhammer. She hangs around in the wings, picking at a herpes blister, as her roommate Lisa (Liliane Amuat) prepares to move out to a place of her own — albeit one in the same building. At some point in the movie, that herpes blister infects Lisa, too.
The move, by some uncanny force of its own, sends a bizarre current through the entire apartment complex, a loony constellation of friends, lovers, strangers, and pets. It’s impossible to keep track of the comings and goings of the various players, whose desires and impulses bleed into one another. A confusing rush of people is dizzyingly choreographed. There’s Lisa’s mother Astrid (Ursna Lardi) hovering around, and the script from the Zürchers never quite spells out what her feelings are toward Mara, but Sapphic vibes are flying everywhere.
Cinema Guild will open “The Girl and the Spider” April 8 at Film at Lincoln Center and Metrograph in New York City, followed by a national rollout that includes the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles April 15.
Read IndieWire’s full review here.
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