Pulp’s Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets

Courtesy of Pistachio Pictures
Courtesy of Pistachio Pictures

Pulp, the five-piece Britpop band from Sheffield, took the world by storm in the 1990s, producing indie anthems such as “Common People,” “Disco 2000,” and “Babies.” These songs were only a few of the bands’ hits that led to the commercial success and production of the film, Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets. The film was directed by Florian Habicht and first released in America on March 9th at South by Southwest Film Festival.

The film’s main focus is the infamous moment of 2012 in which Pulp reformed for what is thought to be the very last time. Prior to this the band had intended their performance at Reading & Leeds Festival 2011 to be the end for them. Their headline slot, shared with The Strokes, seemed a fitting place to leave the history of the band at the time. However looking back upon this frontman Cocker claims he didn’t see this fit and although it wasn’t a “rock and roll thing to do” he wanted to tie loose ends and tidy things up properly. Wouldn’t everyone do the same with such a huge success in their life?

The film focuses on many major topics that concern the band from fame, love and mortality to car maintenance issues, that Cocker can only dream about. It also opens up emotional and physical problems that the band faced during their success, such as keyboard player Candida Doyle’s arthritis, which she was diagnosed with at the age of 16. The documentary takes an interesting twist and rather than giving a vast majority of time to the band’s history, they feature multiple interviews with the people of Sheffield. From people reaching their elderly years, children younger than ten and people who have faced times of mental difficulty, the documentary shows how Pulp have reached them all whether to entertain or nurse them. 

The film concludes with the band’s last ever UK show, which was a one off in their hometown of Sheffield. The Motorpoint Arena played host to fans from all over the world, and the film shows how the 13,500 capacity venue was full of excited and nervous bodies. On Christmas that year, 17 days after the final show Pulp released song “After You” but it was only accessible to those who had attended the Sheffield show. However in the early days of 2013 other fans were able to access the download.

The final line up of the band stands at Jarvis Cocker contributes his vocals, Candida Doyle on keyboard. Nick Banks covering the drums, Steve Mackey playing bass guitar and Mark Webber on guitar. Cocker is the only member of the band who played from the very start in 1978 until 2012 and the band has seen 24 members in total throughout the years. The film now comes with a bonus disc which entitles viewers to view concert-recorded tracks “I Spy,” “Mis-shapes,” “Sheffield Sex City” and “Help The Aged.”