Stars: Aris Servetalis, Sofia Georgovassili, Anna Kalaitzidou
The Greek weird wave a la Yorgos Lanthimos continues with this droll and spookily prescient first feature from director Christos Nikou.
Middle-aged man Aris (Servetalis) is discovered riding around aimlessly on an Athens bus, the latest victim of a mysterious and unspecified pandemic that causes sudden amnesia. As nobody has inquired as to his whereabouts, Aris is enrolled in a recovery programme in the Disturbed Memory Department where he is give a set of tasks to complete as part of a ‘learning how to live course’ such as riding a bike, fishing, paying for a lapdance. He is also given a Polaroid camera to record them.
During a visit to the cinema to see ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ he meets a woman Anna (Georgovassili) who is also on the programme but a bit further along with her ‘lessons’ and she clues him in on what is next.
Oblique but genuinely compelling and deadpan funny, the picture works as study of the mutability of identity, as well as cheeky parody of social media actualisation as the virus sufferers obsessively record their experiences. Along with the obvious pandemic parallels, the theme of people trying to reacquaint themselves with social norms feels strangely apposite as we begin to emerge from lockdown, blinking into the light.
Servetalis make for an appealingly hangdog protagonist, particularly in an affecting moment of melancholy where recognition seems to flicker as Aris stares at a couple embracing in an old black and white film in a TV shop window, the director leaving it up to the viewer to decide whether Aris is sad at what he has lost, or musing on something he wilfully left behind.
Apples is available to stream via Curzon Home Cinema from 7th May
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