director Florian Habicht
Decidedly not a concert film, Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets is a documentary about the great Sheffield band, Pulp, their final concert on a reunion/farewell tour, their fans, influence, and hometown. Like the band, the movie is a lot of things perhaps to a lot of people. And while it might leave you wanting more Pulp, director Florian Habicht manages to create a portrait and a landscape at once.
As a document, it won’t give a viewer a definitive anything. You get some music, live, some accompanying dancers, sung by a choral group, by people in a cafe. You get some band history, flashes really. You get some personality interviews, namely with lead singer Jarvis Cocker and other bandmates. But with fans and locals as well.
I was living in Sheffield when Pulp’s signature album Different Class came out in 1995, and it was pretty clear that “Common People” was a classic from the day it was released. What’s always been interesting about this band who hailed from the Northern city of Sheffield was that they existed for more than a dozen years before making a record that made them world-famous, and then vaguely miserable with said fame.
Cocker’s confessional storytelling lyrics have always grounded the band in their time and place, a uniqueness celebrated here in this odd, idiosyncratic film. And even though with truncated performances and odd local interpretations of their music, I found myself liking the film. Maybe it’s natural to be left wanting more.