Christos Nikou’s “Fingernails” challenges the role of technology in modern love stories, with Jessie Buckley and Riz Ahmed starring as co-workers at a company that specializes in determining people’s soulmates based on their (you’re hearing this right) fingernails. The film first premiered at Telluride.
Buckley plays Anna, a new employee at the Love Institute, where the machines are housed. She starts training with senior instructor Amir (Ahmed), yet Anna is already committed to Ryan (Jeremy Allen White), and the machine has already confirmed they are a perfect match. So why is she developing feelings for Amir?
“Fingernails” is co-written by director Nikou, Stavros Raptis, and Sam Steiner, with Luke Wilson and Annie Murphy also starring.
The film is Nikou’s second feature and first English-language film after making his directorial debut with the critically acclaimed “Apples.” Oscar winner Cate Blanchett is among the producers of “Fingernails,” along with Nikou, Coco Francini, Andrew Upton, and Lucas Wiesendanger. “Fingernails” is executive produced by Glen Basner, Milan Popelka, Alison Cohen, Ashley Fox, Kevin Lafferty, and Jerome Duboz.
Nikou told IndieWire that Blanchett approached him to star in his next film after “Apples” but that “Fingernails” did not have a role for her.
“She first reached out to me when we arrived in Venice for the world premiere of ‘Apples,’” Nikou said. “Cate expressed to me how ‘Apples’ was one of the best films of the last years, and she wanted to play in the next film. But I already had a treatment for the next film, ‘Fingernails,’ and I didn’t have a role for her. So she became a producer.”
Nikou also collaborated with dream Emmy-winning cinematographer Marcell Rév, who has worked with Sam Levinson on “The Idol” and “Euphoria.” Rév shot “Fingernails” on film to capture the ‘90s-inspired retro technology used in the plot, according to Nikou.
“I said, ‘This has to be only on film.’ When we’re trying to create something that looks a little more timeless, it’s more powerful shooting on film,” the writer/director told IndieWire. “I’m an old-fashioned person. I call the ’90s the last decade of film because it’s before all the technology and internet being so much in our lives. You remember a bit the time we didn’t have a cell phone, I’m sure, how it was when you were meeting with your friends and nobody knows exactly where you were all the time, nobody could find you everywhere. I love that time.”
“Fingernails” premieres in Los Angeles and New York theaters October 27 and will stream on Apple TV+ November 3. Check out the trailer below.