Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets review – fans' farewell to Jarvis and co

Sheffield's common people pay tribute to Pulp in this affectionate documentary

Jarvis Cocker describes Pulp's late-in-the-day farewell concert as a very non-rock'n'roll act of "tidying up" – resolving the loose ends of the band's somewhat unsatisfactory demise several years earlier. 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 fuck you"), all of whom have their own stories to tell.

A young musician who skipped psychiatric care to tune in to Cocker's 6 Music show (and who wonderfully describes D-major 7th as a "not quite happy" chord) extols the virtues of getting mugged in Sheffield, rather than London, because "in Sheffield you usually know the people who are mugging you". Elsewhere, we meet a young women's football team and a more grown-up women's singing group; Richard Hawley browses vinyl collections and fails to remember Cocker ever doing the washing-up; and people with "Jarvis" emblazoned on their pants sing along in a manner that has quite clearly helped get them through. The live performances are electrifying, all jagged elbows and brilliant pop tunes, with the band suitably assisted not by drugs and booze, but by a neatly organised display of treatments for colds, incontinence and light grazes. On the subject of fame, Cocker asserts boldly that "it didn't agree with me – like a nut allergy". Hardcore indeed.


Mark Kermode, Observer film critic

The GuardianTramp

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