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Cinema

Writer/Director Christos Nikou on His Acclaimed Film Apples

NEW YORK – The award-winning film Apples, written and directed by Christos Nikou and starring Aris Servetalis opens in New York and Los Angeles on June 24 and expands to additional cities across the U.S. in the following weeks.

Nikou’s feature directorial debut, Apples was an official selection at the Telluride Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, and Toronto International Film Festival, among others. It was also Greece’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film for the 93rd Academy Awards. The film is a surreal and enigmatic work, a beguiling exploration of memory and identity, featuring a moving central performance by Servetalis. Co-written with Stavros Raptis and Executive Produced by Cate Blanchett, Andrew Upton, and Coco Francini, Apples is in Greek with English subtitles. The film’s running time is 91 minutes.

About the film

Amidst a worldwide pandemic that causes sudden amnesia, middle-aged Aris (played by the award-winning Servetalis) finds himself enrolled in a recovery program designed to help unclaimed patients build new identities. Prescribed daily tasks on cassette tapes so he can create new memories and document them on camera, Aris slides back into ordinary life, meeting Anna (Sofia Georgovasili), a woman who is also in recovery. Through images deadpan, strange and surreal, Greek writer-director Nikou posits a beguiling reflection on memory, identity, and loss, exploring how a society might handle an irreversible epidemic through one man’s story of self-discovery. Are we the sum of the images we compile and display of ourselves, or are we something richer, and deeper?

The trailer for Apples is available online:

Nikou spoke with The National Herald about the film, its U.S. theatrical release, and his upcoming work.

TNH: Did you always want to pursue filmmaking as a career?

Christos Nikou: Probably yes… Since I remember my childhood, I was watching three movies per day… At the age of 14, when I watched for the first time The Truman Show in a theatre, I realized that I want to make films like that, movies which create their own worlds. And then since 16, I started writing scripts and at 18, I decided that I did not want to study, that I just wanted to find a way to do films as a self-taught and that’s what I did. So my answer is yes…

TNH: How does it feel to see Apples being released in the U.S.?

CN: It is something very important for the film and for me, I don’t know if it feels any different than in any other country as it was distributed in more than 70 countries. I was not expecting it when we were creating the film, so another stop is the United States and we’re talking about a very big territory with a large audience. We just hope that the audience, like in the other territories, will feel for the film and will follow the emotions of the main character through his whole journey, that they will take something at the end from what he is going through. I think this is why we are making films.

A scene from the film Apples directed by Christos Nikou and starring Aris Servetalis. (Photo: Courtesy of Cohen Media Group)

TNH: What was the most challenging aspect of making Apples?

CN: I think it was always the budget. It was very difficult at the beginning to finance it with our script. It was not that simple, I mean, it was not written in a usual way. In Greece or in Europe in general, I feel that scripts which are firstly supported follow a recipe. They tackle social problems or family issues and we wanted to do something different with Apples. We had in mind to create something original, mainly coming from our heart, so the most challenging was to work with a limited budget of $250,000.

TNH: What was the most rewarding aspect?

CN: It is when you see that the movie works, when you realize that the audience is moved by it, how they react. I received so many messages from viewers who totally connected with the film, they felt the grief and related very warmly to the emotions of the main character. This is the most rewarding for me.

TNH: What are you working on next?

CN: We are right now preparing Fingernails with shooting planned for November 2022. It takes place in a world where a test has been discovered that measures whether couples are truly in love. To help couples succeed, love institutes have opened to guide them. Anna is skeptical of the positive result she’s received with her longtime partner, so she starts working in a love institute as an assistant to Trevor, a mysterious, dedicated instructor. Jessie Buckley and Riz Ahmed will star. It is produced by Cate Blanchett, Coco Francini and Andrew Upton with Filmnation and it will be distributed by Apple TV.

The poster for Christos Nikou’s film Apples. Photo: Courtesy of Cohen Media Group

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