Apples: Film Review

Apples

If 2020 had been a usual year, I might have seen Apples open the Venice Film Festival, but since that didn’t happen, I’m glad it’s finally getting a release in the UK.

Christos Nikou‘s directorial debut is set amid a pandemic which causes people to develop amnesia out of the blue. Aris (Aris Servetalis) is the next victim of the pandemic – he completely forgets who he is while travelling on the bus. He has no form of identification so his relatives cannot be informed and so he is enrolled onto a recovery program which helps unclaimed patients create new identities. Aris is given a new home and money and regularly receives tapes from the program’s leaders instructing him what to achieve next – ride a bike, go to a bar or go to the cinema – and he must take photographs to prove he’s completed the tasks. He befriends fellow unclaimed amnesiac Anna (Sofia Georgovassili) and they help each other tick off their lists.

Apples is an intelligent, thought-provoking film. It really makes you wonder what it must be like to suddenly lose your identity and have no recollection of what has happened in your life until that point. Would it be upsetting or liberating to start over with a blank slate? To help Aris rediscover his identity, or forge a new one, the program leaders conjure up an arbitrary bucket list of what they consider essential human experiences – the exact same list for all the patients – but the instructions become increasingly more challenging and unrealistic, so you can’t help but wonder if you would continue with it or strike out on your own if you were in Aris’ shoes.

The concept of this Greek-language film is very clever but the execution won’t please everybody. It is very subtle and understated and Aris is a quiet, reserved character so we spend a lot of time just observing him as he carries out these tasks. It is also pretty odd, offbeat, and darkly funny, making me laugh out loud on several occasions.

Servetalis and Georgovassili do a great job of portraying characters who have no identity, no back story, no nothing. They are rediscovering themselves as they go. Servetalis is a compelling lead who is very intriguing and mysterious as he keeps himself to himself whereas Anna has more personality on display. Bringing her into the mix was a good idea because she is chatty and friendly and provides a good balance to Aris.

Apples is a unique, smart film that will make you think long after the credits roll. It’s worth checking out.

Available on Curzon Home Cinema from Friday 7th May

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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