Derik Badman's Journal

2023-03-26 10:23

Just finished watching the Zurcher brothers' The Girl and the Spider which was excellent. It shared a lot of traits with their previous The Strange Little Cat (on which see 2021-09-27T08:04-04:00), not much plot, lots of close ups, most of the action in small apartments, people telling odd little stories, close-ups on objects as transitions, but also, on reading what I said about the earlier film I can see how this one was perhaps a little less obscure in its tension. The narrative takes places across a few days as a young woman is moving out of one apartment into another. The protagonist is the young woman she is leaving behind at the old apartment. It is not entirely clear but they are maybe lovers, or perhaps now ex-lovers. I got that sense from the tension between them, the looks, just some of the mood. The protagonist has these moments where she hurts herself in little ways, or leaves small bits of destruction in her wake (she scratches the counter at the roommates new flat with a screwdriver; the pierces cups from a party with a pencil and let's the liquid spill out on the table). There are a slew of characters surrounding these two, neighbors, friends, guys helping with the mom or helping fix things. The protagonist tells these little stories, she twice says she is a liar, so many of her stories are perhaps untrue and often sound more metaphorical than literal, encoded messages about her feelings. Some of the other characters tell similar little memories or tells.

Almost the whole thing is shot in close ups, lots of heads, with people moving in front or behind, or standing partially obscured in the fore or back ground. It's wonderfully composed and orchestrated. It's sad but also funny (the mom's dog keeps popping into the shot to grab sponges and run off with them). There is little explanatory narration to the film, but you infer what is going on, and the characters all feel like they have histories and feelings and lives outside of what is going in front of you. Really loved it.