By Adam Ray Palmer
When it comes to short and innovative films, it’s always something that I’m excited to check out. Christos Nikou’s first feature Apples is just that.
Nikou’s Greek indie stars Aris Servetalis, Sofia Georgovassili and Anna Kalaitzidou and takes inspiration from filmmakers Lanthimos and Kaufman with evident Black Mirror themes.
Apples follows Aris (Aris Servetalis), a man who is the latest victim of a mysterious pandemic that causes sudden amnesia. When he is admitted to a hospital with no clue who he is, things start turning a little “Black Mirror”. Nobody comes to seek news of him, and so with no ones’ support, he must now enter into a recovery programme.
Once placed into this programme, he is set a bizarre set of tasks to complete which are designed to build his confidence and to construct a new life to lead. It’s basically like learning to live again and having “first-time memories” to feel all those feelings that go with them – no matter what.
Christos Nikou’s movie is a fascinating idea, executed mildly in my opinion. There’s so much to unpack here and feels like this project could have better served as a series rather than a feature film. Alas, there are many positives here though, Nikou blends deadpan comedy with uneasy and awkward social identity searching, ultimately showing just how fragile humans can be.
What I did really like about Apples is the stripped back nature of telling a human story. It’s definitely a contemporary setting, but there’s very little technology on show. There’s no reference to the internet, you do not see mobile phones or laptops and every message left with Aris is via an old-fashioned tape recorder. In addition, to record his new memories, he is given a Polaroid camera and a notebook to stick the print outs in.
To me, this is a definite style choice and one that points at the era we live in negatively. Everyone lives for the moment, everyone shows off on Instagram, and Nikou makes this clear by commenting in a recent interview: “I think that we are living in a period of time which is more about the photo than to live the moment.”
On the whole, Apples could explore so much more, and feels like it is a better idea on paper than the film it becomes. It’s a little unfocused but the themes are ones we should all be discussing. We need to do more for our social interactions in the real world, rather than comparing our TikTok dances. It’s an intelligent movie about finding yourself in an estranged society, but perhaps the film has bitten off more apple than it could chew.
Cineroom’s rating: 3 stars
Apples will debut at the Glasgow Film Festival on 28th February and yet to find a UK distributor at present.