Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
Original Title: Das Mädchen und die Spinne
Switzerland, 2021. Beauvoir Films, Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen, Zürcher Film. Screenplay by Ramon Zürcher, Silvan Zürcher. Cinematography by Alexander Haßkerl. Produced by Adrian Blaser, Aline Schmid. Music by Philipp Moll. Production Design by Mortimer Chen, Sabina Winkler. Costume Design by Anne-Sophie Raemy. Film Editing by Kaharina Bhend, Ramon Zürcher.
Two almost identical locations are the places in which we spend most of our time in this precise, subtle drama from twin filmmakers Silvan and Ramon Zürcher. Mara and Lisa are ending their time together as roommates, we open on Lisa setting up the new apartment that she will be inhabiting with her boyfriend Markus. As Lisa and her mother move furniture around and put dishes on racks, mysterious and practically wordless Mara observes and sometimes comes close to causing damage instead of helping things move along. A brief car ride and we are then in their old apartment getting the last of Lisa’s things, while Mara continues to interrupt the easy flow as the cast is enlarged by other roommates, existing boyfriends and potential new ones and characters perform numerous microscopic manipulations from one moment to the next, as the camera hardly moves inches around this equally small area. The Zürcher aren’t interested in sweeping narratives but rather are trying to pinpoint the various ways in which humans interact in seemingly innocuous but, in actuality, devastating ways, mapping them on the screen with the same cleanly inked accuracy as the floor plans with which they open their film. The smoothly underplayed performances are matched by the controlled visual formalism, emphasizing objects that are photographed like still-lifes in the perpetually bright, sharp cinematography that makes a work of art of even the most banal spaces. It’s not fascinating throughout, there’s more being explored than is being found and the moments of revelation are few, but its technical achievement is on point and is likely the promise of even greater things to come from these directors.
Toronto International Film Festival: 2021