APPLES (Mila)

Cohen Media Group
Reviewed for Shockya.com & BigAppleReviews.net, linked from Rotten Tomatoes by Harvey Karten
Director: Christos Nikou
Screenwriter: Christos Nikou, Stavros Raptis
Cast: Aris Servetalis, Sofia Georgovasili, Anna Kalaitzidou, Argiris Bakirtzis
Screened at: Critics’ link, NYC,
Opens: June 24, 2022

Imagine that your memories suddenly disappear and you can create a new life, eager to have new experiences, to see new things in a new way. However since we don’t know how many times we screwed up our lives, we are unable to correct what’s missing by experiencing the new life. This phenonenon actually occurs to multiple people in Athens circa 1980 when Aris (Aris Servatalis), sitting on a bus, is caught in a pandemic which wipes out people’s memories. Not all people, because if that happened we would not have a team of neurologists spending perhaps pandemic-motivated allowances to do research. When Aris shows up in a hospital, he is not given answers because there are none. The two doctors say simply that they do not know how long it would take for him to recover. But they give him a tape recorder and a Polaroid camera and ask him to perform a number of exercises that might help jog his memory bank.

Remember that a failure to remember hurtful experiences does not create the Shangri-la that we think it would since without them we lose perspective on our lives, our identities. So it is that Aris follows his doctors’ advice and performs a number of rituals, ordered to capture these experiences on the camera for a scrapbook, which he dutifully does. He is told to ride a bike, go to the movies, try to meet a woman, attend a dance, go to a strip club and pay for a lap dance, swim, visit a hospital, and in the last case to act with unusual kindness toward a man who has only days to live.

The film is largely a two-hander: Aris and Anna (Sofia Georgovasili), the latter a woman he meets who is also an amnesiac, more willing to open herself up to new experiences, attending a slasher movie, taking the initiative with Aris who she meets in the theater, even asking him to attend a funeral with her because funerals—like cleaning house—is to her boring.

Among the targets of director Christos Nikou’s allegorical study is our modern communications technology, which he believes makes the brain lazy. Our memories can swiftly be put online, perhaps some skits on Tik Tok, therefore depriving us of the richness that more effort would yield toward helping us to understand where we fit in. Nikou, in his freshman full-length film, may well challenge an audience with limited patience, given the principal character’s deadpan character. He is a lost man trying to see what his life is all about, unsmiling even when chomping on apples, his favorite food, especially given a special type of apple by a friendly greengrocer and while he is slowly consuming another one in the final scene.

Adding to the deadpan “Waiting for Godot” style, cinematographer Bartosz Swiniarski limits the palette to a boxy 4:3 ratio which, together with Aris’s puzzled journey into lost memories should find high-end film fans, their thought stimulated, while audiences for something more commercial might head for the exits.

90 minutes. © 2022 by Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online
Story – C+
Acting – B
Technical – B
Overall -B-

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By Harvey Karten

Harvey Karten is the founder of the The New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO) an organization composed of Internet film critics based in New York City. The group meets once a year, in December, for voting on its annual NYFCO Awards.

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