Daft Punk | Electroma (Vice)

dvd_daft-punk.jpgWhile most musical acts at that time were moving away from synethesizers and drum machines, the two were just beginning to experiment with them on a whole new level.







Depending on who you are and what kind of Daft Punk fan you are, you’ll either be unbelievably blown away or ultimately disappointed by Electroma, the group’s first feature film. Electroma, a film that first made its international debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006, is the story of two robots that journey across the U.S. in search of a way to become human, and ultimately to find themselves in a uniform robot world. As they cross the vast and ever-changing terrain, it becomes apparent just how desperate the two are to be different. Even though the robots in the film resemble the group’s robotic, onstage personas, the two are not connected but do share a common bond: the desire to be as unique and different as possible.

Ever since the group’s conception they have appeared to thrive on straying from the norm. When they first formed in the early ’90s, their original band name was Darlin’ until one British newspaper referred to them as "a bunch of daft punk." Instead of taking the criticism from the critics, the Parisian group decided to take on the name. When Darlin’ eventually split up the two mounted Daft Punk, and while most musical acts at that time were moving away from synethesizers and drum machines, the two were just beginning to experiment with them on a whole new level.

It wasn’t until September 1999 that Daft Punk incorporated robotic personas into their onstage performance as well as their music, claiming to have had their bodies taken over by a robotic bug that speaks for them. Since then, Daft Punk has made their mark all over the world as one of the largest international house music artists. In interviews they are often quoted as their robotic-selves and speak regarding their goal to reach people the world over. Wanting to reach out to their audience and influence them far beyond national borders, they use music as a form of language. In this respect, Electroma, produced by both members of the group, may be yet another language-less form of expressing themselves to their audience.

As for the film’s entertainment factor, I would compare Electroma to that of Open Water or Phonebooth, both films with limited movement and not much of a plot. While the lack of audio clues leaves the audience to put the pieces together, it starts to wear thin before the first half-hour is over. What little humor or dramatic scenes are present are drawn out 10 to 15 minutes too long. The only scene that was remotely entertaining was when the camera shot out across the desert landscape at sunset and focused in on what ambiguously appeared to be a crevice in the desert with a small bush growing on a hill…upon closer study, it was instead a naked woman. 

While it is a silent film, you would at least expect an instrumental or two by the fabulous duo. Instead, the majority of the film is spent watching the back of the two robots’ heads as they drive and sometimes wander the landscape while listening to a majority of dead silence. Unless you’re either a diehard Daft Punk fanatic who’s familiar with the group’s robotic method of expression or an avid film connoisseur who enjoys the visual artistry of a film over everything else, then this film is probably not for you. B- | Jennifer Manjarez

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