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Interstella 5555

Entry updated 24 January 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (2003). Toei Animation/Virgin Music. Directed by Kazuhisa Takenouchi. Cast includes Thomas Bangalter and Romanthony. Written by Bangalter, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Cédric Hervet. 65 minutes. Colour.

Billed as "the animated House Musical", Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem – to give it its full and unwieldy title – is an extremely unusual film: a feature length anime adaptation of Daft Punk's 2001 album, Discovery. Although directed by Takenouchi, the film was essentially a co-production between the band (Bangalter and de Homem-Christo) and visual supervisor Matsumoto Leiji. The animation itself is unsophisticated and slightly cheap but this gives the film a retro charm in keeping with the nostalgic music which, although electronic, looks backwards to Seventies stadium rock.

As the genesis of the project suggests, the story is somewhat contrived: a group of blue-skinned Aliens from a Parallel World are kidnapped by a Music mogul from Earth; a touch of Space Opera further aligns the music with a prog rock aesthetic. Then, to the accompaniment of the stand-out track "Harder, Better, Stronger, Faster", the band are cosmetically altered and brainwashed before being thrust out into the world as the latest pop sensation (at the conclusion we learn the mogul has been doing this for hundreds of years). The main plot is delivered by the first four songs, all singles, after which the story becomes slightly strained and the music wilts a little. Yet despite this, the film succeeds surprisingly well, with visual and audio components meshing to produce more than the sum of their parts. A curio but a pleasant one. [ML]


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