Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets.

October 28, 2014 9:02 am

'The only way to fully understand Pulp is to hang out in the town that birthed the band. "Sing along with the common people" isn't just a lyric - it's a mission statement.'  - NOWTORONTO.COM IN US THEATERS 19 NOVEMBER 2014      WORLD PREMIERE  SXSW MARCH 2014  90 minutes, UK  2014    IMDB   Variety Review Starring Jarvis Cocker, Mark Webber, Candida Doyle, Nick Banks, Steve Mackey and the people of Sheffield. Directed by Florian Habicht. Produced by Alex Boden (Pistachio Pictures) Director of photography Maria Ines Manchego. Edited by Peter O'Donoghue   World sales and international festivals: Altitude Film Sales   US distribution and festivals: Oscilloscope Laboratories UK distribution and festivals Soda Pictures   Australia & New Zealand distribution / festivals E One / Hopscotch


“Even now that we’re all grown ups,” announces Jarvis Cocker to a sold out Motorpoint Arena, “we still get scared when we come play Sheffield.” The city, which he later explains, holds a special place in his heart and is the foundation and inspiration for so many of Pulp’s songs. ‘Sheffield: Sex City’ as he so rightly terms it.



Florian Habicht’s documentary finds itself focused on the band’s final show that took place in December 2012 in the city that gave birth to the band, whilst simultaneously panning out to explore the earlier days of Pulp and the city of Sheffield itself. Like Pulp, the film finds itself sitting somewhat outside the box.

We are introduced to a plethora of characters; all in some way or another are connected to the band. A musician who escaped from a psychiatric ward to listen to Cocker’s Radio 6 show, a newsagent whose favourite Pulp song is ‘We are the Champions’ (a Queen song for those not in the know), a fishmonger who gave Jarvis his first and only real job and two pensioners who think Joe Cocker is of some relation to Jarvis. These insights from fans and members of the Sheffield community provide a peculiar yet profoundly funny and moving appreciation of the band and their importance. The documentary itself arguably wouldn’t be true to Pulp’s style if it did not dedicate itself to the views of the ‘common people.’


Sheffield Arena


The film really comes into its own when it introduces the music of pulp to a several young kids, most of whom would be too young to remember Pulp or had only heard of them through their connection to Sheffield. They gather round to hear a rendition of Disco 2000 played by by the director in their front street, inquisitively listening to the lyrics and melodies of Jarvis Cocker and Co. Following this, one young girl reels off a profoundly philosophical monologue about enjoying life, morality and not growing up fast by cherishing her youth as a response to what she just listened to. Something really quite profound when you consider the girl looks no older than twelve. This section of the film really hammers home the idea that Pulp is woven into the fabric of Sheffield and are accessible to anyone, of any age and any colour.

Moreover, the film really reaches an emotional peak when it encounters the young musician who tells his story of how Pulp helped him overcome a some of the lowest points of his life. He recalls moving to London and being mugged twice in one night, which spurred him to move back to Sheffield with no money and no possessions. Upon arriving home, he was greeted by a friend who took him to a pub for a pint, his friend then told the pub owner ‘this man is a shell of his former self, I think you know what to do.’ To which he responded by putting on a Pulp CD and consequently sitting there all day listening to the band. For him Pulp was a saviour, it helped him overcome a woeful period in his life.



As the title suggests, Habicht’s film digs far deeper than mere stories about the band. It delves far deeper into the minds and hearts of people who have been touched, influenced and impassioned by their music. It misses out on much of the history of the band itself and some of the more important historical aspects of their formation, but that simply doesn’t matter. Because ultimately it is not a film about Pulp, it is a film about life, death and supermarkets.

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