Mara’s feelings of disconnect are expressed externally, while Zürcher keeps viewers engaged through Confurius’ piercing, expressive, glassy blue eyes that can go from longing to contempt in a single shot. At the beginning of the film she conveys a deeply sorrowful sense of loss at Lisa’s departure, but as the furniture and the light fixtures reach their final destination, the inevitability of being ejected from Lisa’s orbit triggers her cruel side. She lashes out by carving a gash into Lisa’s new countertop and pouring hot coffee on a dog (a disturbing echo of Mother hovering her foot over an orange tabby’s head in The Strange Little Cat). Later, she rejects Jan by telling him that only a fly could possibly like him, then killing a nearby fly and declaring, “Now no one likes you.”


With its emotional undercurrents that continually roil just below the surface, The Girl And The Spider meticulously pivots on the idea that life is transitory and everything breaks down. The jackhammer that cracks the cement, the floating feathers of an old down jacket, and the jumbled printout of Mara’s PDF suggest that even the most stable person, place, or thing (or relationship) is subject to decay. The Zürchers, with an expressive lighting cue at the ready, drive this point home with Mara’s story about the beloved spider that would visit her bedroom every night when she was a child. One day the spider disappeared, leaving only a web. Before long, the web would vanish as well. Presumably, the vanishing of Mara from Lisa’s life will result in Lisa’s rebirth, filled with pale blue walls and canary yellow couches. We’re not so sure what’ll happen to Mara. All we know is that the Zürchers aren’t telling.