During a worldwide pandemic, sudden amnesia is striking people and forcing them to start new lives completely removed from their old existences.
And then I went to the movies!
The thing about Apples, a Greek movie, is that apparently filmed before the Mass Formation Psychosis of 2020. The Boy and I were intrigued by the premise and since he’s out of town, I went to see it on my own.
Our protagonist Aris sits alone, depressed, in his apartment, mostly in the dark with just enough flashes of the news to give us the necessary background on the amnesia thing. And after a while of this he gets on a bus, and by the time the bus gets to the end of the line, he’s forgotten who he is.
Since no one picks him up or identifies him, he’s placed in the hands of bureaucrats who have a system to handle the amnesiacs. The process involves doing normal things and taking photos of it: He goes to the park. He goes to the store. He goes to a party. He has casual sex.
They tell him up front “you’ll never get your memories back”. Sure enough, everyone he meets with the same condition has forgotten everything forever. This includes whether or not they like apples. That is, their amnesia goes down to the memories of what they like and don’t like.
Now, where do you go with this intriguing premise? Turns out, nowhere at all. There’s a semi-twist that was obvious enough to me from the get-go (if not the trailer) that I’m not convinced it was meant to be a twist. Like, normally a filmmaker would do some sleight-of-hand to explain why the thing that was just thoroughly detailed didn’t apply, but this just goes right ahead and says, “Yeah, we said it and it means exactly what you think it means.”
Which is fine by itself. The problem is the movie feels like half a movie. Not that you don’t feel all ninety minutes of it. Just that the denouement feels like it should lead to something more. Our hero basically ends up where he started.
There may have been something more, something deeper in the metaphor of the apples, but I actually ended up feeling like that whole bit (which was fine as a story element) was pseudo-profound. That is, something that didn’t really have any great significance but was stuck in there to make you think that it did. I see that the director Christos Nikou worked with Yorgos Lanthimos on Dogtooth and this does kind of have that Yorgos feel. But for whatever reason, it did not resonate with me.
It was at least less frustrating (and substantially shorter) than Memoria.