Monday, July 30, 2007
Like 18k other hooligans, I went to go see Daft Punk perform at the LA Sports Arena recently. It was a great turnout for a great French group that I consider "Electronica for Dummies." After the show I was conversing with my uber daft punk fan friend Cesar who remarked, "I can burn you the "Electroma" dvd if you'd like, I hated it." At first I was like yeah whatever, but then I thought, oh why not, free is free isn't it. A few days later I decided to pop in the movie as I was still vibing off a great show and day (saw Beckham's premier). I knew the movie was going to be slow, and after Interstella 5555 which I thought was a cool 2 hour music video I wasn't expecting to be wowed.
On the contrary, I was wowed. In fact, super wowed. This film is a truly love it or hate it kind of thing, but as I am an artsy movie buff I found it quite interesting. I'd say it's a mix of Kubrick and The Man Who Fell To Earth (which starred David Bowie). As the movie didn't really wow many people and ended up on the midnight circuit in Paris of all places I'm sure the general public doesn't have a clue about this jig. Basically you have 2 robots in a place that is like earth in all ways except everybody are robots. The 2 main characters happen to have the outfits of Daft Punk's stage persona, go figure. They strive to be Human, and for an hour and a half they do that, and that is it. There is absolutely NO DIALOGUE in this film, and the determining factor of emotion is music. Now that is why I love this film, the music supervision is flawless to the T and not one piece of Daft Punk music is used. Brian Eno, Sebastian Tellier, Curtis Mayfield, Chopin, Todd Rungren, and more make up this fascinating soundtrack that by all means sets the tone of the whole movie.
The film was shot in 11 days in Independence, CA a beautifully barren town and desert base of the Sierra Nevadas, 90 miles south of Mammoth. The scenic beauty adds a lot depth to an otherwise easily misinterpretted film. Another realization one must make before viewing this film is that it is slow, scenes drag on for many minutes, the opening scene is 7 minutes of basic driving through the desert, and at the end of the movie things are at a crawl. Daft Punk wanted to make a film their way and by now they should have that right. I commend them for doing what they have done and really not caring about the outcome or critic's point of view. It was the perfect time for me to see this movie, mood and setting were on point, and that lends a lot to my feelings about it. What could essentially be 9 or 10 music video's put together wonderfully tells a simple story of the constant sorrow associated with the stuggle of being like everybody else. The simplicity of the film is a breath of fresh air as so many movies today depend on bad jokes, bad action, bad storylines, and bad stories. Why not embrace a calming experience like "Electroma"?
"Electroma" is out on Vice Records in September (total bummer, piss poor label). For a zipped file of the soundtrack head over here, it's really worth it, bravo to the music supervisor. The last thing I can say is in a world in which we are handfed most of our entertainment (Perez Hilton, TMZ, Transformers) it's nice to see a pair of artists make a film that completely disregards what is expected of entertainment.