My friends all went to see Eden when it premiered at a film festival in Lisbon earlier in the year. Although I was hyped as hell to watch it, I couldn't go on that particular day, and with them all being people who know their films (and music), I immediately asked what they thought of it afterwards. Weirdly, opinions vastly divided: half of them said they were disappointed, that the film lacked rhythm and was too long, while the other half was still very excited: "it's awesome, you have to watch it!"

The thing is, Eden is neither disappointing nor that great. It is definitely an enjoyable film, but I wouldn't right recommend it to, say, someone who loathed '90s French electronica (you have to have at least an emotional-slash-nostalgic connection to it otherwise it can become a bit tedious at times). Not being an absolute expert on Hansen-Løve's work, I can't really compare it with her other films or situate it in her career, but I least know my biopics, and one thing I can tell you for sure: this was not an easy portrait to paint.

Eden is not a biography of a specific band or artist, nor of an assumed musical movement, or even of a definite era (the movie spans a 20-year period). Achieving an accurate portrait of a "scene" through what can be seen as an abstract signifier (there is an actual main character, Félix de Givry's Paul Vallée, inspired by Mia Hansen-Løve's own brother DJ Sven Løve, but it serves mainly as a combination of people and situations than as a purpose in itself) is not always that easy. Paul Vallée overcomes the status of mere character to become a board of concepts to helps portray what has become known as the French Touch.

Oh, and there is Daft Punk, of course. Despite what the snippets and teasers may have had you believe, they are not the focus of the film. I see the depiction of Daft Punk in Eden as both a counterpoint to Paul Vallée's journey throughout the world of Electronica (the duo often represents contrast and opposition to Vallée's current situation) and as the inevitable comic relief; as the result of walking around Paris without their robot helmets, the duo are often not recognised outside venues and frequently denied entry (there's a hilarious scene filmed at David Lynch's legendary Club Silencio's door where they are laughed at by the doorman -- "you? Daft Punk?")

The film has, nevertheless, a very "finished" quality to it, with its brilliant cinematography emphasising the dominant mood of each and every scene, and accomplished actors delivering the goods (if you haven't seen Play It Like Godard with a young(er) Vincent Lacoste, who plays one-half of Daft Punk, it's definitely worth it for a laugh or two.) But despite everything seeming to be in its right place, Eden still can pass for what Freud described as das Unheimliche (the "uncanny"), for although it's strangely familiar at times, it is somewhat difficult to relate to -- and having read a couple of (also very mixed) French reviews, I can tell you this is not a cultural thing. There are parts in the movie during which you'll fully lose your connection to space and time, with the weird pacing making you wonder if you've been watching it for one hour or ten.

However, one has to admit that making a film about French electronica is like making a film about Swedish pop: this is their home territory, and they are allowed caricatures, endless diversions, and even alternate endings of their version of events. Eden ends up being but a drop in a vast, still-to-explore ocean, but it sure is necessary to the depiction of an era.