LONDON: Greek filmmaker Christos Nikou's English-language debut imagines a world where dating apps are out and couples search for true love through fingernail samples and science.
"Fingernails" stars Jessie Buckley and Jeremy Allen White as Anna and Ryan, who have established their compatibility in the lab, and then reflect on their relationship three years later.
At the start, each sacrificed an entire fingernail for the tests which are supposed to eliminate all uncertainties and risks associated with love, including divorce.
Ryan is happy with things as they are. But Anna wants more and secretly takes a job at a love institute, where she meets star instructor Amir (Riz Ahmed) and begins to have her doubts about the whole process.
"I was trying to understand what is love and why a lot of people are using all these dating apps and how technology has changed the way we experience a lot of things," Nikou told Reuters.
"Fingernails" is set in an unspecified period to reflect the timelessness of love, said Nikou, a former assistant director to Greece's Yorgos Lanthimos, whose film "The Lobster" also anatomises relationships.
The only clear link to the present is a scene featuring a cinema running a retrospective of films starring Hugh Grant, and a reference to one of his most famous rom-coms, "Notting Hill".
Grant turned down an offer to play the owner of the love institute in "Fingernails" said Nikou, but the film still includes a tribute to the British actor.
"We wanted to create an inside joke that the owner of the love Institute is Hugh Grant, because he's always the guy who gets the girl at the end.