Canada , UK, France


Spider (Ralph Fiennes) is a strange and lonely man. After a long period in a mental institution, he returns to the streets of the East End of London where he grew up. The sights and sounds and the smells of those streets begin to awaken the deeply buried memories of his childhood. At the centre of these memories is the great trauma of losing his mother (Miranda Richardson), a trauma which occurred, he believes, because his plumber father, Bill Cleg, (Gabriel Byrne), murdered her in order to move a prostitute, Yvonne (also Miranda Richardson), into the house in her place.
The half-way house to which Spider is sent when he is released from the institution is run by Mrs. Wilkinson (Lynn Redgrave). A stern woman, Mrs. Wilkinson rules her residents with a good deal of rigour and discipline. This is not an ideal landlady for a man as sensitive and fragile as Spider, and he soon begins to confuse her with his childhood nemesis, Yvonne.
Terrence (John Neville), who lives in the boarding house, is Spider's lifeline, the one individual who is able to talk to and, an some strange level, understand him. But not even Terrence can save Spider from the spiraling madness into which he seems to be descending as he starts to visit his childhood haunts. Soon, Spider's attempts to sustain his delusional account of his past begin to unravel as he is driven to believe that Mrs. Wilkinson is actually Yvonne—the woman who he believes destroyed his family and was responsible for the death of his mother.
As Spider claws through the falsehoods he has woven around himself, he begins to arrive at the truth about his childhood and about his mother's death. The truth will take him to the very Limits of his faltering sanity.

Director's Statement

Spider is an austere psychodrama with a profound human mystery at its heart. It has the feel of Samuel Beckett confronting Sigmund Freud.

Director's Biography

Director David Cronenberg's reputation as an authentic auteur has been firmly established by his uniquely personal body of work including the films for which he wrote the screenplays: Shivers, Rabid, Fast Company, The Brood, Scanners, Videodrome, The Fly, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, Crash and eXistenZ. The films he directed from other screenplays are The Dead Zone, M. Butterfly and, most recently, Spider.
His films have won him awards and recognition around the world, among which is an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree from the University of Toronto, which he received in June 2001. He was invested with "Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters," bestowed by France in 1990 and upgraded in 1997 to "Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters." In 1999, he presided over the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: David Cronenberg

Written by: Patrick McGrath

Produced by: Samuel Hadida, Catherine Bailey, David Cronenberg

Cinematography: Peter Suschitzky

Editing: Ronald Sanders

Production Design: Andrew Sanders

Costume Design: Denise Cronenberg

Make-Up & Hair: Stéphan L. Dupuis

Original Score: Howard Shore

Cast: Miranda Richardson ( Yvonne / Mrs. Cleg ), Gabriel Byrne (Bill Cleg), Lynn Redgrave (Mrs. Wilkinson ), John Neville (Terrence), Bradley Hall (Boy Spider), Gary Reineke (Freddy), Ralph Fiennes (Spider)

Nominations and Awards

  • Screen International Award (for a non-European film) 2002