It’s not surprising to learn that Christos Nikou worked on fellow Greek writer-director Yorgos Lanthimos’s 2009 breakout Dogtooth—his debut feature is part and parcel of the Greek Weird Wave, with a speculative bent evincing the droll but still slightly farcical plotting that’s come to define the movement. Aris (Aris Servetalis) is among the many people worldwide who suddenly begin suffering from amnesia, unable to recall neither memories from their lives nor even core traits (such as whether or not one likes apples) of their former selves. Those who go unclaimed by family or friends are able to participate in a program that allows them to gain a new identity and reenter society; the only stipulation is that they’re required to undertake a series of bizarre reacclimation exercises, ranging from riding a bike to having a one-night stand in a bathroom. It’s during these activities that Aris meets a lively woman, Anna (Sofia Georgovassili), also suffering from amnesia. The film eventually deviates from any sort of predictable denouement, which I won’t spoil here. But to say it would be a spoiler is perhaps to overstate the ceremony with which the central epiphany is disclosed. Derivative though it may be at times, the film has an exquisite subtlety that mirrors the main character’s veiled inner workings. What this surreal microcosm—constrained even further by intentionally generic set design and a claustrophobic 1.33:1 aspect ratio—ends up conveying about the human experience extends past the frame and into viewers’ hearts and minds. In Greek with subtitles. 91 min.
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