DAFT PUNK: Electroma DVD [Vice]

Those wondering where Daft Punk’s creative juices went during the period between 2001’s Discovery and 2005’s Human After All might find the answer in Electroma, the French duo’s entry into the burgeoning cinematic niche of robotic quests for humanity. The mostly silent film features none of the band’s music (or words) but all of the pretension the aforementioned plot description implies. Then what, if anything, makes Electroma worth trudging through its 70 minutes of mind-numbing tracking shots, which test the limits of even the most patient cinephile? The absurdity of two robots in rhinestone leather Daft Punk jackets, for starters. One innovative shot comes when the robots (played by actors, not the members of Daft Punk) undergo plastic surgery in their desperate pursuit to become human. As the two patients are sterilized, they become enmeshed in a whitewashed background projecting a visually magnificent, Rorschach-like image. Its serene beauty passes quickly, however, leaving you to bask in neo-realistic walking shots that linger far beyond intentional pauses in action. More daunting than moving, the dour Electroma lacks the levity required for its midnight-movie aspirations. [www.vicerecords.com]

—Matt Siblo