Aris Servetalis, Sofia Georgovassili, Anna Kalaitzidou
Set in an uncertain, analogue version of the recent past, Greek director Christos Nikou’s eerily timely Apples depicts a slow-going pandemic that leaves its victims with severe memory loss. Details are scarce, but the crisis has lasted long enough for the government to have devised a treatment programme that people like Aris (Aris Servetalis) are enrolled in. The regime? Performing daily tasks prescribed by doctors on audio cassette and capturing his new memories with a Polaroid camera, paired with fellow amnesiac Anna (Sofia Georgovassili).
Six years in the making, Nikou has explained that Apples was partly inspired by the loss of his father, but also his sense that even pre-COVID, we were already living in a kind of dystopia due to our overuse of screens and social media and their deleterious effects on our abilities to remember and connect.
Prescient and searching, incorporating surrealist humour but still tender, Apples is an illuminating study of human memory (its in-built fragility cleverly emphasised by this alternate reality’s required use of physical media to record images and words) as well as the opportunities afforded by a pandemic for rebirth and reimagining, the chance to move from one world to another. Tonally similar to other Greek ‘Weird Wave’ films (including Yorgos Lanthimos’s Dogtooth, on which Nikou was an assistant director), it has received critical acclaim following festival screenings and is Greece’s entry for Best Foreign Film at the 2021 Oscars.