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Apples ★★★★



Director: Christos Nikou

Starring: Aris Servetalis, Sofia Georgovassili and Anna Kalaitzidou

Released: Glasgow Film Festival 2021

How do we preserve our memories these days? Mainly through an electronic device, no doubt. The world is ever-changing, information is a swipe away, and experiences are widely available. Our perceptions of our lives can always come back to haunt us or fill us with joy—Christos Nikou’s directorial debut, Apples, delves deeper into this.

Nikou’s story follows Aris (Aris Servetalis) is the latest victim of a mysterious pandemic that causes sudden amnesia. When nobody seeks news of him, he is placed in a recovery programme. He must now complete a series of tasks designed to build confidence and construct a new identity. Social interaction and self-awareness have rarely seemed so difficult.

Apples is a striking debut from Christos Nikou. This is quite an in-depth, methodical exploration of our identity and how rebuilding your life doesn’t always has to be a daunting experience. Nikou crafts a surrealist society quite similar to the vein of 21st-century Greek cinema ala Dogtooth or Attenberg. It feels oddly comfortable, but Nikou’s sense of disorientation builds this unique ambience he has placed us in. Aris has gone through quite a traumatic experience but has no recollection of what has actually happened to him. Nikou delivered a fine balance of deadpan dark humour and the tragic elements of the experience. This sense of deadpan Lanthimosian style seems to have been missing for quite some time.

Christos Nikou has reported that his film is a satire of modern technologies hold on society. He even named it after one of the largest tech companies that have shackled our minds. The tight 4:3 framing creates a claustrophobic feeling to Apples. We don’t see the wider scope of this world or what is beyond Aris’ perception. It is shrouded in this greyish tint to form a slowly unravelling haze as we move on. Between the colourisation and the framing, you could almost imagine it as a polaroid photo. This uncandid world really asks a lot of questions to its audience; how would you remember? How would you rebuild your life? Who are you?

Christos Nikou has quite a distinctive eye for our worldly issues. At times you would think this film was a hybrid of Yorgos Lanthimos and Spike Jonze, but Nikou’s unusual perspective shines through. Aris Servetalis leading performance is what makes this film whole. The struggle to understand and to fall in love with yourself is the key here. His body language and facial expressions tell you a lot more about Aris than any words could.

Lover of all things indie and foreign language. Can be found rambling on YouTube at times!

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