May 02, 2021
Christos Nikou’s new comedy Apples is about a city afflicted with mass amnesia. The director explains why technology is already leading us there
Forget me not: what if a virus stole our memories?
Pandemic movies are likely to be at the bottom of most viewers’ must-see lists right now, but the bizarre new comedy Apples offers a fresh take, peeling away the horror to reveal an absurdist core. Christos Nikou’s film, executive-produced by Cate Blanchett, is set in a modern Greek city rendered weirdly docile by mass amnesia. A busker picks his way falteringly through Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, foxed by a tune he can’t quite recall, while a man arrives at the last stop on a bus journey with no idea who he is or where he is going. Though there is no apparent cure, sufferers are prescribed everyday activities to help rebuild their lives, from swimming and dancing to one-night stands. With no modern technology in this timeless alternative present, each task must be documented with a Polaroid camera. Pics or it didn’t happen.
“This is how people behave today,” says the 37-year-old director, speaking by video call from his home in Athens. “We photograph something, then put it on Instagram with a Polaroid filter. We care more about the photo than the actual moment.” Despite his use of the first-person plural, Nikou claims not to go in for selfies. “Never, never, never in my life!” He joined Facebook briefly to help spread the word about Apples. “I hated using it. The only good thing about the pandemic might be that we are so overwhelmed by screens that we will say: ‘OK, enough.’”
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