|Daft Punk's Electroma|
Promotional poster for Daft Punk's Electroma
|Directed by||Daft Punk|
|Produced by||Paul Hahn|
|Written by||Thomas Bangalter
Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo
|Editing by||Cédric Hervet|
|Distributed by||Daft Arts / Wild Bunch|
|Release date(s)||AU June 6, 2007
NA July 22, 2008
UK November 19, 2007
|Running time||74 min.|
Daft Punk's Electroma is a film by French duo Daft Punk. The plot revolves around the quest of two robots (the band members, played by Peter Hurteau and Michael Reich) to become human. The music featured in this film is not by Daft Punk, which is a first for the duo after their previous film and home video releases, D.A.F.T. and Interstella 5555. While initially receiving mixed reviews, theatrical screenings of the film have since been well received.
The two lead characters, credited as "Hero Robot No. 1" and "Hero Robot No. 2", appear as the robotic forms of Daft Punk. An opening scene shows the duo driving in a 1987 Ferrari 412 with its license plate displaying "HUMAN". After passing through a Southwestern United States landscape, the duo arrives by car at a town in Inyo County, California. The town's denizens are also shown to be robots physically identical to the two main characters, but at different ages, with different clothing and alternating gender.
Robot No. 1 and Robot No. 2 drive to a high-tech facility where liquid latex is poured over their heads. The latex is shaped into human-like faces with the aid of prosthetic appliances and wigs. When the two leave the facility, the locals of the town are shocked by their new appearance. While they are chased by the other robots, the duo's faces melt in the sun. The two take cover in a public restroom and discard the ruined masks. The pair then undergo a lengthy hike across desert salt flats.
After walking for a while, Robot No. 1 gives up. He removes his jacket and reveals a set of buttons on his back. Robot No. 2 operates them and starts a countdown. When the countdown ends, Robot No. 1 is blown to pieces. The remaining robot continues to walk but eventually also gives up. He falls to his knees and tries to reach the buttons on his own back, but to no avail. Instead, he removes his helmet and reveals a printed circuit board face. He repeatedly slams the helmet onto the ground until it is shattered. Using one of the shards as a burning-glass, he focuses the sunlight to set his hand ablaze. The film ends showing the robot, completely on fire, walking in slow motion through darkness.
Daft Punk's previous directorial credits include the music videos for their singles "Fresh", "Robot Rock" and "Technologic". The duo initially shot footage for a music video of the song "Human After All", but expanded the content for a feature-length film instead. According to Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, Daft Punk's Electroma had been an unplanned extension of filming videos for the Human After All album.
|“||We were not nervous - making a full-length movie was like a dream. We never planned for it to happen, but after we directed the videos for our last album we decided to keep on working. We were in the shooting dynamic, so the movie came naturally. We didn't think too much. Whether it's making music or directing a video, whatever we do we do it quickly. When we have a good work dynamic we don't need to ask too many questions of each other.||”|
Thomas Bangalter stated, "With this film, we had the same approach as when we started making music. Create without any rules or standards. Take a free approach to something new that you don't really know, and that you learn from scratch."
The film was shot on 35 mm Kodak stock under the cinematography of Bangalter. He purchased and read over 200 back-issues of American Cinematographer in preparation for the feature-length picture. Filming of Daft Punk's Electroma spanned 11 days, much of which was spent in California.
While D.A.F.T.: A Story About Dogs, Androids, Firemen and Tomatoes and Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem were produced to complement the albums Homework and Discovery, the soundtrack for Daft Punk's Electroma does not feature material by Daft Punk. As stated by de Homem-Christo, "We come from a musical background, but this movie is quite minimal." The music in the film includes works by Todd Rundgren, Brian Eno, Sébastien Tellier, Curtis Mayfield, Linda Perhacs, Jackson C. Frank and Mathieu Tonetti.
The film was first shown on May 21, 2006 as part of the Cannes Film Festival sidebar Director's Fortnight. Midnight screenings of Daft Punk's Electroma were shown in Paris theaters from the end of March 2007. The film was also screened at Biennale de Montréal in Canada on May 11. It was shown in the Australian Centre for the Moving Image on June 7, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London on June 8 and at Kino Arsenal in Berlin on July 4, 2007. The film went on a screening tour of the United Kingdom, beginning in July 2007 and ending in October at the BBC Electric Proms. The ICA later announced a few late night weekend screenings for November 2007, but based on turnout and interest, extended the screenings to continue until January 2008. In December 2007, the film was shown in Seattle, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Austin as part of a tour of independent film screenings sponsored by the Scion line of Toyota cars.  Vice Records sponsored Canadian midnight showings on December 7 in Victoria, Banff, Calgary, Winnipeg, Fort McMurray and Toronto. Further showings in Canada were screened during January 2008 in Toronto, Ottawa and Whitehorse.
The DVD-Video of the film was first released in Australia on June 6, 2007. It is distributed by Aztec International Entertainment and rated G by the OFLC.[18 ] According to the official Daft Punk's Electroma website, it is available in the UK as of November 19, 2007. Vice Records released the North American DVD on July 22, 2008; reports of a Blu-ray Disc release by Vice were later labeled "a mistake" and retracted by the company. The DVD is packaged with a 40-page book of film images in a SteelBook case. The film became available for online viewing on the Lycos Cinema platform as a rental streamed at either standard or high definition. It is also available for online rental or purchase at the iTunes Store.
The film's showing at Director's Fortnight was received with mixed reactions. Daft Punk's Electroma was praised for its lensing technique and musical soundtrack at the premiere. At the same time, the film was unfavorably compared with Gus Van Sant's Gerry and Vincent Gallo's The Brown Bunny for its extensive hiking sequence. The scenes involving the main characters' desert trek reportedly caused a large portion of the audience to leave the theater at the Cannes Film Festival showing. In regards to the movie's reception, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo expressed:
|“||There's a feeling of despair for some, but that's not what we wanted. Because the whole movie is without dialogue, it's more a question than an answer. We wanted to make a question mark so people could project what they wanted onto Electroma - some people see it as sad, some as happy. Everyone is different.||”|
Giving his own take on the movie's reception, Thomas Bangalter also stated, "We expected it to be less popular than Discovery, of course. The film is experimental and inaccessible; however, it's a movie that does not require your brain to function."
Reaction to the film's midnight screenings in Paris was reported to be positive as of the end of March 2007. The screenings in the region were so highly received that the film's previously brief run was extended to six months. Most screenings in the United Kingdom sold out quickly. In response to the film's midnight placement, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo expressed, "We are really happy it has become a midnight movie rather than just another movie that will be taken off the screen after one week. Usually, and I think it is the same worldwide, you get all the big blockbusters and if the movie doesn't do good, after one week it is taken off the screen."