Apples a film by Christos Nikou a world without social media
16 November 2022
If we really are witnessing the demise of social media, then Apples, trailer, the 2020 debut of Greek filmmaker Christos Nikou, might offer a glimpse of this brave new world. Of course some people will find the scenario familiar, but others — those who grew up with a parent’s smartphone constantly in their hand — might be left feeling disorientated.
Apples is set in contemporary Athens, the capital of Greece, where the world is in the grip of a pandemic that causes instant, and in many cases, permanent amnesia.
Recently widowed Aris (Aris Servetalis) is one of the virus’s victims. As he was carrying no identity documents at the time he lost his memory, Aris is taken to a hospital where he waits to be “claimed” by friends or relatives. Medical staff warn this may never happen though. His near and dear may have also succumbed to the disease, and no longer have any memory of him.
When it becomes apparent this is the case, Aris is placed on a program that gives patients a new identity and life. He is given an apartment and a living allowance, but must complete a daily task set by his doctors. Instructions are left on a cassette placed in his letterbox, which he listens to on a cassette player. He is also required to photograph his exploits, using a Polaroid camera.
Assignments variously include riding a bike, going to a horror film, and even crashing a car in a low-impact collision with a fence or a tree. The exercises are intended to help victims of the virus create new memories. While on one of his missions, Aris meets Anna (Sofia Georgovassili), herself a virus victim, and they begin to form a bond.
But nothing is quite what it seems to be in this world devoid of an internet, where people must interact in person, or call around to each other’s apartments if they wish to see each other. At times though it seems quite comforting. People appear to live normally, as if the advent of social media and the internet were a passing blip in history.
Could it be that straightforward though? Simply forget the internet — and anything else for that matter — both the convenient and inconvenient it has brought to the world? I doubt it, and so to, I think, do the protagonists in Apples.