Me? I come home two weeks later to discover that I actually did buy that limited-edition Human After All remix disc with Kubrick figures of Daft Punk from that guy in Japan while under the influence of a perfectly indecent number of vodka tonics instead of just strongly considering it.
Daft Punk’s Electroma, directed by the duo and starring two other people in their famed robot suits is self-indulgent, ponderous, bloated, and utterly fascinating for its excesses and the statement they appear to make. For years, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter have used their stage identities to remove the ego from their product, carefully crafting an image that makes the men behind the music invisible to all but the most inquisitive listeners, and this film adds another (likely very intentional) layer of obfuscation between them and their audience.
The film’s plot is threadbare, to say the least: two robots drive a Ferrari 412 (license plate HUMAN) to a town in the desert southwest (straight out of Charley Varrick or Vanishing Point) occupied solely by other robots (both male and female) with the same designs, clad themselves in human disguises that soon melt in the desert heat, and find themselves on the run from the citizenry. If it weren’t for Daft Punk’s explicit explorations of the themes of identity and humanity in the close-to-unlistenable Human After All, I’d think this was art-wank of the highest order. Once placed in context – Electroma began as an expansion of Human After All‘s promotional videos – it becomes part of larger work and, much like Alive 2007, improves upon the source material no small amount, even without featuring it directly.
Early screenings at Cannes were met with confusion and derision. For those not indoctrinated in the themes in the previous material, walking out would be an easy and understandable option: the film offers no explanation of the events presented, merely some above-average camerawork and a narrative that’s far too barebones to satisfy even the most pretentious of filmgoers. I think a lot of the movie’s appeal will be almost subliminal to a good deal of the audience that would be receptive to the work. I don’t necessarily recommend it to everyone, but I’m very glad I’ve seen and own it.