Fingernails: An interview with Christos Nikou
Director Christos Nikou follows up the critically acclaimed Apples with his English language debut, Fingernails. Sitting firmly within the “Greek Weird Wave” approach to deadpan tone and style (he’s previously worked with Yorgos Lanthimos, whose output shares some DNA with his, The Lobster in particular), it explores dating and relationships in the modern world, imagining what would happen if there were a way to prove your compatibility with another person – which just so happens to involve the rather grim process of ripping off a fingernail with pliers.
Despite the premise being that of a contemporary sci-fi nature, the lens, setting and aesthetic are anything but, screaming retro in its colours and old-fashioned stylings.
The cast is inspired, with the continually excellent Jessie Buckley paired with Riz Ahmed, their electric chemistry crackling throughout, while also nailing (excuse the pun) the idiosyncratic humour. Jeremy Allen White meanwhile puts in a totally contrasting role to The Bear to brilliant effect, and Luke Wilson makes a welcome appearance as the earnest manager of the Love Institute.
The Upcoming had the chance to chat with Nikou during the London Film Festival about how he came up with the off-the-wall idea, leaning into the movie’s more outlandish and quirky moments (Hugh Grant’s movies are to be studied and an electric shock as your partner leaves will help you miss them) and its thematic considerations of whether we should trust our instincts when it comes to love rather than rely on technology.
Fingernails is released on Apple TV+ on 3rd November 2023.
Watch the trailer for Fingernails here: