TIFF 2021: Our Review of ‘The Girl and the Spider’

Posted in TIFF 2021, What's Streaming? by - September 18, 2021
TIFF 2021: Our Review of ‘The Girl and the Spider’

The Girl and the Spider is, broadly, about change, but it specifically captures the relationship of two bisexual women. These women are Lisa (Liliane Amuat) and Mara (Henriette Confurius), and the Swiss production depicts their life as Berliners. Most of the film takes place in an apartment, where their family members and neighbors go in and out, and it never explains who lives there.

I also point out Lisa and Mara’s bisexuality because there’s a presence of desire within everyone’s gaze. Even Lisa’s mother Astrid (Ursina Lardi) takes an interest on one of the movers like Jurek (Andre Hennicke). The film then divides moving scenes and party scenes with digressions and still lives. And there’s a cat that everyone feeds because its owners are away.

Lisa and Mara’s behavior is very “I’m doing a thing” cinema, obtusely oblivious to this fictional world’s absurd openness. Viewers can argue back and forth on whether or not people in real life are inherently open or private. But the pendulum swing here feels too much like it’s in one direction that it’s infuriating that no one is calling this weird stuff out.

It has its funny moments, and I normally like movies with cats, but there’s also something both antiseptic and busy about the film. There’s nothing wrong with a strange festival film but it;s as if the characters’ openness stems from their superficial uniformities. Regardless of the star rating, directors Ramon and Silvan Zurcher still have a unique vision that attracts curiosity.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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