Amidst a worldwide pandemic that causes sudden amnesia, middle-aged Aris (Aris 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 Christos 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?
For in-depth thoughts on Apples, please see my colleague Devin McGrath-Conwell’s review from its original theatrical release here.
Apples comes to Blu-Ray in a 1080p presentation in its unique 1.33:1 aspect ratio that is truly a beauty. While the world may be in a dour state due to the pandemic, this is a visually rich film with gorgeous shots of the city throughout where you can see an incredible amount of detail. As Aris goes from location to location, you feel as if you can almost reach out and feel the texture of the room. Despite an overall desaturated palette, certain colors really pop off the screen including the hues of clothing and certain lighting choices. The white levels are handled beautifully along with the intensely deep blacks that do not appear to suffer from any compression artifacts. There are no instances of intrusive digital noise in the presentation. The skin tones look very detailed and natural all around. Cohen Media Group has delivered a thoughtful presentation with this one.
The film comes to Blu-Ray with an immersive DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track in the original Greek. This movie is far from an action film, but there is a constant stream of environmental activity which comes through particularly well. The dialogue and sound effects are appropriately balanced with the soundtrack where nothing gets lost in the track. Surround channels get some surprising activity during a few sequences which spices up the track. The score aids a lot in the surreal tone the film strikes as it flows through with flawless fidelity. The low end of the track is not very active, as subtle environmental sounds make more of a showing in the surrounds. As with the video, audiences should have no issues with this track.
- Director Christos Nikou In Conversation with Taika Waititi: A terrific 34-minute virtual conversation between Waititi and Nikou in which they discuss their mutual friendship with Executive Producer Cate Blanchett, getting involved with her production company, some of his past work before embarking on this feature-length debut, how technology has impacted our memory, the layers of the narrative, the performers in the film, the art of crafting a film on an aesthetic level and more. Waititi brings his normal lighthearted sensibility to the conversation which keeps things lively.
- Director Christos Nikou In Conversation with EP Cate Blanchett: A wonderful 28-minute virtual interview moderated by journalist Anne Thompson in which Blanchett discusses what drew her towards backing the project, Nikou discuss the place of technology within the narrative, how the pandemic has added new layers to the resonance of the film, influences on his work, the impact of working with Yorgos Lanthimos and more.
- Trailer: The two-minute trailer is provided here.
Apples is a really thoughtful and inventive feature debut which provides pointed commentary on modern society within the confines of a sci-fi narrative. The ambition of the story occasionally outmatches the execution, but there is a great deal to appreciate both on a craft and storytelling level. There are stretches of this film which will positively upend your emotions and keep your mind racing for days afterwards. Director Christos Nikou is a very promising filmmaker who we cannot wait to watch develop for many years to come. Cohen Media Group and Kino Lorber have released a Blu-Ray featuring a stellar A/V presentation and some amazing interviews. Recommended
Apples is currently available to purchase on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: Cohen Media Group and Kino Lorber have supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.