Apples (2020 – dir. Christos Nikou): Philadelphia Film Festival review

To kick off this year’s (almost entirely) digital festival, I took a peek at Apples, a sleepy sci-fi tale about a man who has lost his entire memory. He’s not alone, as there is a plague of memory loss affecting the entire world. For the most part, if someone “forgets” they will soon be recognized by family or friends and brought back to their former lives, at least insofar as they’d be physically able to do so. Unfortunately for our protagonist (Artis Servetalis), he’s got no one in his life to retrieve him, so instead of getting back to his old life, he takes up residence at an institute designed to help him design a new life. 

At a time where we are imbuing just about every social action with rumination on identity and personal history, Apples boldly takes a look at a world where suddenly, a person is wiped of both of these things. Kudos to Servetalis for constructing a character who, despite having absolutely no background to functionally speak of, is someone we can feel empathy towards — someone who, even as we learn that his motivations may not be completely pure, is easy to root for. 

It’s a mostly quiet tale, carried by the human performances and minimalist plot, elevated by a handful of delicious ambiguities left behind when the credits roll. There’s a lot to chew on as the film unspools, but even more food for thought once it ends. A solid start to the fest. 

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