Produced - Spider and the Fly


Spider and the Fly
Spider and the Fly
Produced 2002

(St. Kilda Film Festival; In The Realm Of The Senses; Fitzroy Shorts)

Genre: Drama
Running time: 15 minutes
Format: 35 mm


Late one evening, whilst driving on a dark and quiet road, gruff father Blowfly and his beautiful young daughter Fly, appear to run down a creature, a Roach, which suddenly comes into view in the middle of the road. Whilst the dominating Blowfly checks for damage, or a body, he is strangely lured into a building, The Place, across the road by the very creature whom he appeared to run down.

Suddenly alone in the car in the dark, young Fly wonders what to do. As she watches The Place for signs of her father, unusual creatures come and go. Fly resolves that the only thing she can do is to go inside and look for her father. It must be safe; after all, he appeared to enter the building willingly.

Fly approaches The Place. A wave of music washes over her as Roach opens the door to admit her. Inside, music pumps and strange creatures get high on cocktails of alcohol and designer drugs. Fly has never seen such a rave; her father would never have allowed it. The beautiful new girl on the block, the Fly is an instant target for the predatory creatures who party here. Free of her father’s authority, Fly allows herself to enjoy this strange world and everyone wants her attention, the rotund Worm, the wanna-be cool Earwig, the lustful Mosquito, but none more so than the supplier of the drugs, the giver of the party, the owner of The Place — Lord Spider.

Spider flatters the young Fly, and while she knows that she should not be foolish enough to be swept up by such idle flattery, she is young and impressionable - this world is beautiful and free. She tries to resist the temptations that surround her, but finally she cannot. And she cannot resist the beautiful Spider.

The comely but dangerous Spider has won himself a new plaything. And as he prepares for his game with her, Blowfly, cocooned, silenced and hanging high up in a corner of the Spider’s den can only watch in horror as his precious daughter willingly gives herself to the Spider.

Director's Notes
In our waking life we perceive myriad symbols - consciously or unconsciously - just as our sleep is crammed with symbol-laden dreams the bulk of which we don't remember.

The fable "The Spider and the Fly" is an allegory dramatising the loss of innocence. The basic premise is an obvious one: the dangers of being seduced by what we instinctively know to be harmful but which we still feel compelled to savour. The tale, in the style which we are telling it, is imbued with dark, gothic tones but leavened with bacchanalian revelry and a celebration of sensuality. This use of colour and movement will serve to beguile innocence personified - in this case, "Fly". Like Lewis Carroll's "Alice", Fly will be introduced to a world comprising a bevy of characters whose human and animal traits meld.

Mary Howitt's poetry/dialogue is mainly written in iambic heptameter (seven beats to each line with stresses falling on alternate beats).

As with Shakespeare's poetry/plays, though the meter should be respected, our aim is for a speech pattern which resembles normal speak.

Our objective is for the viewer to identify with "Fly" and be swept away by the "music" of the poetry, the cinematic language and the strong audio/visual elements.

Of course we run the danger of distancing our audience if the story is told in too stylised a manner. It's important that in world we are creating, the marriage of naturalism and artifice, is a happy one.

The following, lists aforementioned human characters with animal traits. Our intention is to find a balance between what is credible and what is not - in other words, to what degree will an audience suspend disbelief without compromising the story's dramatic pull?

Compelled to spin delicate but strong webs - revelling in creating its own world. Master and controller of that world. Its objective is to entrap and devour. Its poison is often lethal - its politics, more so. Movement: Strong, long, measured strides. Very deliberate turn of the head. It’s arm precisely reaches out to you with the hand landing heavily on your flesh and gripping firmly.

Fragile, innocent, gullible. Alas too often attracted to putrefaction. Will fly about, sometimes aimlessly, sometimes with purpose. Its compound eye sees much but there are forces that will easily get under her guard.
Movement: Light on its feet. Delicate, airy, head and arm movements. Moves like cross between a fairy and a piece of cellophane paper caught in an eddy.

Mature. Protective. Cantankerous.
Movement: Heavy footed and loud.

Nocturnal. Has long, whip-like, feelers. Is keen to know what's ahead of him well before he gets there. Enjoys taking risks. Will scamper under the spotlight rather stand up to danger and fend it off.
Movement: Rapid short steps. Staccato head and arm movements.

Insecure about its fleshy vulnerability. Slow witted. Will act without thinking.
Movement: Wriggles and jiggles. Easily excitable.

Its protruding rear forceps present it as more repellent than it actually is although its "sting in the tale" should not be dismissed lightly.
Movement: Operates at similar speed to Roach but its legs and arms extend further and thus less staccato.

Is keen to sink its proboscis into flesh and dine on nutrient blood. It's thirsty for bodily fluids. Movement: Resembles a long limbed classical ballet dancer. Body movements appear to originate in the long fine neck. The limbs cut through the air with majestic ease giving the impression it’s always floating.

Attractive. Small. Susceptible. Too-easily dominated.
Movement: Quivers a lot. Tense arms and legs make it get around slowly.

Obsessive consumer. Will slowly gorge on succulent fare indefinitely.
Movement: Surreally slow, fluid movement.

Can be too flamboyant and as such, easy prey. They live their life in limbo - awaiting greater rewards in the other imminent life.
Movement: Creates slow, undulating shapes with its body.

Enjoys devouring insects. "Prays" they taste good and that won't give them indigestion.
Movement: Moves as if it where a giant puppet on a string. Awkward and large.

Hyperactive. Flighty and delicate. Is attracted to hot bright light, and of course is destined to negotiate the narrow pass between pleasure and pain.
Movement: Flighty and flirty. Life is a rapture. Body tingles from head to toe.

The Spider and the Fly - a fable by Mary Howitt
‘Will you walk into my parlour?’ said the spider to the fly;
‘ ’Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy.
The way into my parlour is up the winding stair,
And I have many pretty things to show when you are there.’
‘O no, no,’ said the little fly, ‘to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.’

‘I’m sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?’ said the spider to the fly.
‘There are pretty curtains drawn around, the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, ‘I’ll snugly tuck you in.’
‘On no, no’ said the little fly, ‘for I’ve often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed.’

Said the cunning spider to the fly, ‘Dear friend, what shall I do,
To prove the warm affection I’ve always felt for you?
I have within my pantry good store of all that’s nice;
I’m sure you’re very welcome; will you please to take a slice?’
“O no, no’ said the little fly, ‘kind sir, that cannot be;
I’ve heard what’s in your pantry, and I do not wish to see.’

‘Sweet creature!’ said the spider, ‘you’re witty and you’re wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I have a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you’ll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.’
‘I thank you, gentle sir,’ she said, ‘for what you’re pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now, I’ll call another day.’

The spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly fly would soon be back again;
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready to dine upon the fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
‘Come hither, hither, pretty fly, with pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple; there’s a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead.’

Alas, alas! How very soon this silly little fly,
Hearing his wily flattering words, came slowly flitting by.
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue;
Thinking only of her crested head—poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour; but she ne’er came out again!

And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly, flattering words, I pray you ne’er give heed;
Unto an evil counsellor close heart, and ear, and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the Spider and the Fly.

John F. Howard
Georgia Van Cuylenburg
Michael Burkett
Drew Tingwell
Tamara Donnellan
Penelope Bartlau
John Sadler
Stuart Bowden
Bree Stafford
Paul Bugeja
Ana Young
Stephen Twoig
Matt Wilson
Sherrie Moule
Michael Graves

Special thanks
Thanks to the following extras for their hard work and patience: Abi McNeil; Alice Robinson; Amber Muscat; Anabel Curpney; Andria Ifrim; Angela La Leggia; Anya Jarosz; Ashley Hart; Ashley Rojo; Benita Mackail-Johnstone; Beth Driscoll; Brian Sinclair; Cassie Morrow; Chris Roberts; Craig Blomeley; Dale Trott; Dana Moran; Daniel Convery; Elenor Andrews; Elleisha; Elod Doffeler; Hayden O’Brien; James Gand-Hunter; Jessica Hart; Katherine Adam; Laura Fritsch; Laura Paton; Lauren Cox; Leanne Woodward; Lim Hong San; Lisa Mitchell; Lydia Tenace; Martin Templin; Mary Jane Caswell ; May Deganhardt; Michael Trott; Natalie Loussaief; Nikki Zulic; Otieno Ochieng; Paul Dick; Paul Murphy; Peter Orio; Phoebe Watham; Priscilla Phelps; Rhia Stiberc; Sharon Benporath; Suryani Lowenhertz; Tekla McCarthy; Tim Podestra; Vicki Ridley; Willian Miriams; Yudha

Executive Producer/Producer
Director of Photography
Production Designer/Art Director
Music Composer:
First Assistant Director
Production Manager
Sound Recordist
Costume Design
Chief Make-up Artist
Chief Hair Design Artist
Dance/Movement Coordinator
Post Production Sound
Special Images & Lighting Effects
2nd Assistant Director
3rd Assistant Director
Production Coordinator
Production Assistants:

Clapper Loader
Focus Puller

Best Boy
Sound Recordist & Boom Operator
Boom Operator
Make-up Artists:

Hair Design Artists:



Attachment to Continuity
Assistant Choreographer
Textiles Artist
Stills Photography:

Legals Consultant
Safety Officer
Anne Rittman
Rae Hart
Angelo Salamanca
Susannah Farrow
Con Filippidis
Ken Sallows
Ruth Lyon
Michael deWolfe & Steven Hadley
Nadia Cossich
Barbara Agar
Rob Hornbuckle
Darrel Stokes
Liam Revell
Rene Whittaker
Rachel Manneke-Jones
Lianne Fritsch
Rae Hart
Vassie Viachos
Cameron Grant
Dale Nason
Fiona O’Connell
Paul Treadwell
Charlotte Akerman
Fabiola Pantea
Polly Stanton
Tatiana Kirkpatrick
Russell Bridger
Jaqueline Matisse
Anders Olsen
Jason Stolies
Gary Wright
Nick Godkin
Aaron Price
Lauren McNicol
Annette Oliver
Claire Jones
Kathy Barker
Anna Younes
Ali Sullivan
Mark ‘Geezer’ Wilson
Skye Davies
Jeffrey Norris
Doug Vietz
Ernest Johnston
Arthur Knowles
Rae Hart
Emily Dinakis
Andrea McCallum
Marcus Herrick
Kim Tonelli
Adriano Frisanco
Caroline Petit
Peter Culpan
Rittman’s Rations

Many thanks
Abbotsford Iron Pty. Ltd.
Café Pane
Dan Packiaraja
Dream Easy
Guys next to door to warehouse location
Haiku Productions
Landmark Education
Red Falcon Iron and Glassworks
Robert Gordon Australia
The Vegie Bar

Special thanks
George Tomeski & Partners Pty. Ltd. Advertising Agency and “Ted” Rittman, without whose generosity this film could not have been made.