Thursday, September 25, 2008
When it was first announced, I was very excited to hear about the new Kraftwerk documentary "Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution". And judging by the long wait there was for it on Netflix, I was not alone. Now that I've watched it, though, I have to admit to being a bit disappointed. Not because it's a terrible film, but because it actually offers very little insight into Kraftwerk. Where the film succeeds is in its very thorough history of the Krautrock movement that preceded Kraftwerk. Indeed, nearly half of the film is talking about other bands such as Amon Duul, Can, Popol Vuh, Cluster, etc. This is all important in understanding how Krafwerk happened, but it actually almost eclipses the Kraftwerk content at times.
Also disappointing (although not surprising) is the lack of any interviews with Ralf or Florian. Karl Bartos is interviewed extensively, but I think most Kraftwerk enthusiasts have heard his perspective numerous times by now (since he seems to be the only member of the 'classic line-up' who will talk to press). The other interviews and commentary are from a variety of critics, musicians, and academics and actually get a bit long-winded and boring after awhile.
The ending is a bit odd, as well, skipping entirely over Electric Cafe and only briefly mentioning Tour de France Soundtracks and barely mentioning the band's reunion tour and concluding "Well, even geniuses run out of steam". It seems a very odd, down note to end on. That said, this is the first extensive documentary on Kraftwerk that I am aware of and it must've been quite a feat to get the info they DID get on such a reclusive group. Still, the whole thing feels like a missed opportunity to me.