Greek dramedy Apples was one of the buzz films of last year’s depleted festival circuit, debuting in Venice where it opened the festival’s Horizons section. It’s now Greece’s entry into this year’s International Feature Oscar race.
Six years in the making, the prescient movie is set amidst a worldwide pandemic that causes sudden amnesia and follows a middle-aged man who finds himself enrolled in a recovery program designed to help unclaimed patients build new identities.
Director Christos Nikou, who was snapped up for representation by CAA earlier this summer, was inspired by the allegorical novels Blindness and 1984, and the movies of Charlie Kaufman, as well as his own personal loss, when developing the timely project.
“I have always been fascinated by movies that create new worlds. The Truman Show is the film that made me want to be a filmmaker,” Nikou says during his film’s panel at Deadline’s Contenders International. “This is a very allegorical film and a very personal story. I was dealing with the loss of my father at the time. I was thinking about how we erase things that hurt us.”
Nikou, who cut his teeth working alongside Yorgos Lanthimos as an assistant director on Dogtooth and Richard Linklater on Before Midnight, instructed his lead actor Aris Servetalis to watch films from Jacques Tati and Jim Carrey to prepare for his lead role. They also discussed Buster Keaton. The research certainly paid off.
“Aris used to work as a dancer. I loved his body language,” he says. “I asked him to watch movies of Tati and Carrey and to combine these two different approaches into something new.”
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