Pulp: Life, Death and Supermarkets (with live Q and A from Sheffield City Hall) Tyneside Cinema 6th June 2014

Pulp: Life, Death and Supermarkets (with live Q and A from Sheffield City Hall) Tyneside Cinema 6th June 2014
pulp_filmThings weren’t looking too good for Pulp back in 1988. After a disastrous farewell show, they packed their bags and relocated to London from Sheffield. Some 25 years and 10 million album sales later, the band returned home for an emotional farewell show. Rather than making a conventional concert movie, award-winning film-maker Florian Habicht uses this momentous occasion as his backdrop for a more intimate documentary. Setting up a series of artfully arranged tableaux, he presents a fascinating exploration of the close and enduring relationship between Pulp and the “common people” of Sheffield. At this charming and insightful film’s centre is the band’s charismatic, endlessly quotable lyricist and frontman Jarvis Cocker. (From the publicity for the film).
Starring Jarvis Cocker, Mark Webber, Candida Doyle, Nick Banks, Steve Mackey and the people of Sheffield. Directed by Florian Habicht.
‘Florian Habicht’s concert movie follows Jarvis Cocker and his bandmates as they prepare to mark their 25th anniversary as Britpop royalty with a concert in their native Sheffield. Songs will be sung, stories will be told, and pies will be eaten, because 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). “Fittingly, Florian Habicht’s affectionate documentary tells the story of the band from the streets of Sheffield with the help of friends, family and fans, aged and youthful alike (one wears a T-shirt proclaiming: “I am a common person so **** you”), all of whom have their own stories to tell.” (The Guardian)
The UK release was last night, 6th June 2014, and the Sheffield premiere, with the band, local stars and filmmakers in attendance was broadcast live to 90 cinemas across the UK from Sheffield City Hall. Laura and I went to the screening at the Tyneside Cinema.
pulpfilmtixThe event started with a live feed from outside Sheffield City Hall, a choir of Yorkshire ladies singing “Common People” on the steps of the Hall, and the audience mingling and making their way to their seats. Soon we see Jarvis and the rest of Pulp arrive. The screen at Sheffield lists the towns and cities to which the film is being beamed out, each one followed by a little Jarvis  joke, some rhyming…”Doncaster….Clap faster….Tyneside….You shall have a fishy….” (lots of cheers from our home crowd). The film is introduced by Director Florian who brings Liberty, a young Sheffield girl who features in the movie as one of the “stars” from the people of Sheffield, up on stage to say a few words.
The film itself centres around the farewell 2012 Pulp gig at Sheffield Arena, the day of the gig and, most of all, the people of Sheffield. There are clips from the concert, but not many in comparison with other concert films. Most of the time we are taken around Sheffield, meeting the people and talking about their personal connections with Pulp. A group of older people sing a lovely rendition of “Help The Aged”. Jarvis, and each band member, talk a little about themselves, their connection with Sheffield and the importance of holding their last gig there for the people they grew up with. A paperseller outside the market tells us why he likes Pulp. Liberty listens to “Disco 2000″in her garden.
This works well, and paints a picture of a band returning to, reflecting on, and respecting their roots.
After the film, Paul Morley hosted a live Q & A session with the band, and Florian, talking largely about the movie, the concept behind it, and how it came about. At one point, Javis asks everyone in the audience who features in the movie, to stand up. Almost half the crowd in the City Hall do so.

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