The movie screens as part of Sheffield's Doc/Fest
Sheffield’s Doc/Fest played host to the European premiere of Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets last night (June 7).
Shortly before 5pm, the band members and director Florian Habicht took to the pink carpet outside the City Hall, and were immediately mobbed by fans.
The screening was preceded by a laser show, before Habicht and producer Alex Boden took to the stage. “When I became a filmmaker, I managed to track down an email for Jarvis,” explained Habicht. “He agreed to come and see my film. Pulp are a band you can connect with; I’m not sure Coldplay would do that.”
Journalist Paul Morley led a Q&A session afterwards. Asked about the motivation behind the film, bassist Steve Mackey explained that it was something they’d initially resisted. “Florian approached us and eventually convinced us. We didn’t want to do it, but he raised the funding and we ending up saying ‘OK’. We talked about how rock documentaries don’t really work for us, as nothing gets across the immediacy and physicality of music. But we saw [Habicht’s] film about New York, and said ‘Alright, come to Sheffield and let’s see what you’re made of’.”
On the subject of the band’s future, they remained fairly coy, but drummer Nick Banks was enthusiastic about the prospect of further activity, saying: “I just think if you do something and it feels good, do it again.”
Speaking to NME afterwards, Banks expanded his comments. “In the group, as with any group, there’s a spectrum of desire,” he said. “I enjoy it so much that I just want to play. But for some of the others, it’s a case of ‘I’ve done that now, I want to do something else for a bit’. I’m very pro [carrying on], I’d like to do more stuff. But we’re a disparate group of people, with different ideas.”
He was pleased with the film’s portrayal of what might yet prove to be Pulp’s final concert in the UK, which took place at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena in December 2012. “It was great! I’d seen an early version of it but I hadn’t watched the final cut, so tonight was like seeing it for the first time. With a camera, you’ll get the essence of a concert but it’s about so much more than that. Initially, we didn’t know what we wanted it to be, but we left it to Florian – it was his vision. Straight away, he got it, he understood.”
He continued: “It always amazes me how committed people are to our music. When I was 16, I never ran to the front of a concert and waited for hours. I was into groups, but not to that extent!”
Audience feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with a standing ovation for the filmmakers and band as the credits rolled. Julie Ann Horan, from Sheffield, said: “I had a lump in my throat for a lot of it. Watching it felt like the closing of a chapter, and that made me feel sad. But it felt like a natural finishing point.”
Fellow resident James O’Hara concurred: “I loved it. It perfectly captured the spirit of Sheffield and Pulp, which is difficult to describe. There were some really poignant moments.”
Emma Hudson added: “I haven’t got any hopes for Pulp’s future, really. They’ve done their thing and they’ll always be a part of Sheffield whatever happens next.”