Daft Punk Unchained

Daft Punk Unchained

Daft Punk Unchained poster

Back in 97, I remember being at the Borealis festival in Montpellier, France, and being blown away by two scruffy guys’ infectious set, some of the highlights including their noisy “Rollin’ and Sctachin’”, the muscular ”Da Funk” and their freshly baked hit “Around the World”.  Almost 20 years later the two young men have mutated into shiny robots, conquered the world, shared the stage with Steve Wonder and brought back home a couple Grammies.

Hervé Martin-Delpierre’s documentary Daft Punk Unchained aims at uncovering some of the mystery surrounding French musicians Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter. Starting with their latest and more successful album, Random Access Memories, the film goes back to their earlier years in a rock band – alongside Phoenix’s guitarist – to unfold their story chronologically.

The documentary intertwines archival footage, old interviews and conversations with some of their collaborators, from marquee names such as Kanye West, Nile Rodgers, Pharell Williams, Giorgio Moroder, Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep) to their first manager Pedro Winter and the Hollywood effect artist who created their emblematic masks.

The most interesting moments center on their lesser known early years, their attention to detail as well as their efforts to keep their integrity. A good part of this film is about their famous Coachella appearance – apparently the entire world was there – and the subsequent 2007 Alive tour – which I attended here in L.A.

All of this is quite informative and should satisfy those who don’t know much about the French duo, but the ensemble remains too formulaic for its own good. With a title like Daft Punk Unchained, we could have expected something more exciting and revealing but what Mr. Martin-Delpierre serves us is for the most part already well known.  Most importantly, let’s address the elephant in the room, the actual presence of Daft Punk which doesn’t seem to be directly involved in that documentary. Mr. Martin-Delpierre doesn’t bring us any new interview or exclusive material and, while I’m assuming it has to do with their wish to keep their privacy,  this makes Daft Punk Unchained an incomplete and somewhat frustrating work – I’m suspecting only Mr. Gondry might be able to pull off a comprehensive and artistically-appealing documentary about his robot friends.

Director: Hervé Martin-Delpierre Running Time: 1:25 – Year: 2015 – Country: France

Click here to watch Daft Punk Unchained

Alive 1997 + Alive 2007 (Boxset)(4LP Colored Vinyl w/Digital Download) (Vinyl)


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Fred Thom

Fred Thom

Editor-in-Chief/Founder/Film Critic at Plume Noire
The founder and editor-in-chief of Plume Noire, Fred Thom covers film festivals and writes movie reviews. He was born in Marseilles, France and is now living in Los Angeles, California.
Fred Thom

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1 Comment

  • C’mon man, it is a documentary, not a drawn out interview. As an ageing bedroom technophile, I found it to be quite fascinating. I used to run a live system of machines, samplers, and beat boxes. I switched to computer programs, but am back to hardware. This documentary inspired me to go back to the store and get a fancy new drum machine. Inspiring.