In 2003, Daft Punk released Insterstella 5555, an anime sci-fi flick that re-envisioned the French duo's Discovery as a space opera, with blue-skinned aliens rocking out to "One More Time." Insterstella was a bright, flashing, poppy, party 'toon that sounded as gleeful and retro-futuristic as it looked.
Electroma, the first feature film directed by Daft Punk themselves (Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Hommem-Christo to their mothers), is the exact opposite of Insterstella: There's not a single note of Daft Punk's music involved, the entire film is sans dialogue, and several of the wordless scenes hit the 10-minute mark.
The film finds the funky, helmeted duo (played by actors Peter Hurteau and Michael Reich) speeding through the desert in a badass Ferrari in a quest to become human. Arriving at a California town populated by identical robots, "Hero Robots #1 and #2" are chased into the desert by the town's droids, walking through the salt flats until the film's dramatic conclusion.
Visually, it's stunning: Electroma features at least three scenes that have been seared into my brain, recalling the dystopian visions of films like THX 1138 and Solaris. As a nearly silent art film about robots, Electroma leads the genre—but anybody hoping to get their "Around the World" on will feel pretty cheated by the time the AM soft-rock classic "If You Were My Man" wafts over a nine-minute scene of two robots giving each other the silent treatment in the desert.
Jackpot Records and Vice Records will present a free screening of the film on Friday, July 18.