Daft Punk's Electroma

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Daft Punk's Electroma
Electroma.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by Daft Punk
Produced by Paul Hahn
Written by Thomas Bangalter
Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo
Paul Hahn
Cédric Hervet
Starring Peter Hurteau
Michael Reich
Music by Todd Rundgren
Brian Eno
Sébastien Tellier
Curtis Mayfield
Linda Perhacs
Jackson C. Frank
Mathieu Tonetti
Cinematography Thomas Bangalter
Edited by Cédric Hervet
Production
  company
Because Music
Distributed by Daft Arts / Wild Bunch
Release date(s)
Running time 72 minutes
Country United States
France
Language English

Daft Punk's Electroma is a 2006 film by French electronic music 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 the 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. The duo instead served as directors and co-wrote the film along with Daft Arts manager Paul Hahn and collaborator Cédric Hervet. While initially receiving mixed reviews, theatrical screenings of Electroma have since been well received.

Plot[edit]

The two lead characters appear as the robotic forms of Daft Punk and are credited as "Hero Robot No. 1" and "Hero Robot No. 2". One wears a silver helmet and the other wears a golden one. 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.[1] 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.

The pair 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 human appearance. The duo's faces eventually melt in the sun as the townsfolk chase them. The two take cover in a public restroom where the gold robot discards his ruined mask, then encourages the reluctant silver robot to do the same. Again appearing as robots, the pair then undergo a lengthy hike across desert salt flats.

After walking for an extended period, the silver robot slows down and comes to a stop. Becoming aware of this, the gold robot walks back to the silver one. The silver robot continues to stare at the ground for a moment before removing his own jacket. He then turns away from the other robot, revealing a switch on his back. The gold robot flips the switch, which begins a timer. When the countdown ends, the silver robot is blown to pieces. The remaining robot piles the remains of the silver robot, then continues to walk. The gold robot eventually falls to his knees and attempts to reach the switch on his own back, but to no avail. Another moment passes before the robot removes his helmet and repeatedly slams it into the ground until the helmet shatters. Using one of the shards as a burning-glass, the robot focuses the sunlight to set his hand ablaze. The film ends as the robot, completely on fire, walks in slow motion through darkness.

Cast[edit]

  • Peter Hurteau as Hero Robot #1
  • Michael Reich as Hero Robot #2
  • Ritche Lago Bautista as Robot Groomsman
  • Daniel Doble as Robot Pastor
  • Athena Stamos as Robot Waitress
  • Bradley Schneider as Robot Lawyer

Production[edit]

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.[2] 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.

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."[4]

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.[5] Filming of Daft Punk's Electroma spanned 11 days,[3] much of which was spent in California.[1] Many scenes of the film take place in Inyo County along U.S. Route 395 and in the town of Independence. The robotic and makeup effects were designed and created by frequent collaborators Tony Gardner and Alterian, Inc.

Music[edit]

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.[1] As stated by de Homem-Christo, "We come from a musical background, but this movie is quite minimal."[6] The following songs are featured in the film:

Release[edit]

The film was first shown on May 21, 2006 as part of the Cannes Film Festival sidebar Director's Fortnight.[1] Midnight screenings of Daft Punk's Electroma were shown in Paris theaters from the end of March 2007.[7] The film was also screened at Biennale de Montréal in Canada on May 11.[8] It was shown in the Australian Centre for the Moving Image on June 7,[6] at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London on June 8[9] and at Kino Arsenal in Berlin on July 4, 2007.[10] The film went on a screening tour of the United Kingdom, beginning in July 2007 and ending in October at the BBC Electric Proms.[11] 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.[9] 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.[12] Vice Records sponsored Canadian midnight showings on December 7 in Victoria, Banff, Calgary, Winnipeg, Fort McMurray and Toronto.[13] Further showings in Canada were screened during January 2008 in Toronto, Ottawa and Whitehorse.[13]

The DVD-Video of the film was first released in Australia on June 6, 2007.[14] It is distributed by Aztec International Entertainment.[14] According to the official Daft Punk's Electroma website, it is available in the UK as of November 19, 2007.[11] 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.[15] The DVD is packaged with a 40-page book of film images in a SteelBook case.[16] The film became available for online viewing on the Lycos Cinema platform as a rental streamed at either standard or high definition.[17] It is also available for online rental or purchase at the iTunes Store.

Reception[edit]

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.[18][19][1][20] In regards to the film's reception, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo expressed:

Giving his own take on the film'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."[5]

Reaction to the film's midnight screenings in Paris was reported to be positive as of the end of March 2007.[22] The screenings in the region were so highly received that the film's previously brief run was extended to six months.[6] Most screenings in the United Kingdom sold out quickly.[citation needed] 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."[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Daft Punk's Electroma review variety.com. Retrieved on February 26, 2007.
  2. ^ Interview with Electroma actor Peter Hurteau. danideahl.com. Retrieved on January 14, 2008.
  3. ^ a b From the desert the robots come, pgs 1-2. theage.com. Retrieved on June 10, 2006.
  4. ^ Suzanne Ely, "Return of the Cybermen" Mixmag (July 2006)
  5. ^ a b Punk fiction Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved on August 4, 2007.
  6. ^ a b c d Midnight feast of sights and sound News.com. Retrieved on May 31, 2007.
  7. ^ Daft Punk's official MySpace page. Retrieved on February 25, 2006.
  8. ^ HitList hour.ca. Retrieved on May 31, 2007.
  9. ^ a b Institute of Contemporary Arts - Film - Daft Punk's Electroma ica.org.uk. Retrieved on November 23, 2007.
  10. ^ SPEX präsentiert: DAFT PUNK'S ELECTROMA fdk-berlin.de. Retrieved on July 5, 2007.
  11. ^ a b Because Music presents Daft Punk's Electroma electroma.org. Retrieved on July 16, 2007.
  12. ^ Route07: Scion Independent Film Series Retrieved on December 7, 2007
  13. ^ a b Daft Punk's Electroma official MySpace page. Retrieved on December 7, 2007.
  14. ^ a b Aztec International Entertainment aztecinternational.com.au. Retrieved on June 10, 2007.
  15. ^ Daft Punk's Electroma Out Now, Pocket Lint 30 May 2008
  16. ^ Daft Punk Makes Blu-ray Home Media Magazine. Retrieved on March 25, 2008.
  17. ^ Lycos
  18. ^ Eye Weekly - On Screen eye.net. Retrieved on February 27, 2007.
  19. ^ Musique Vol. 1 website archived from May 25, 2006.
  20. ^ Robot madness? It can only be Daft Punk guardian.co.uk. Retrieved on May 7, 2007.
  21. ^ From the desert the robots come - Film - Entertainment - theage.com.au
  22. ^ Daft Punk's Electroma news thedaftclub.com. Retrieved on March 29, 2007.

External links[edit]