One thing that made the Brit-pop explosion of the 90s brilliant was how every band had their own sound and image to match. There was Oasis with their balls-to-the wall Manchester working class swagger, Blur with their London educated art-rock, then there was the less easily defined Pulp, born in the unlikely town of Sheffield. Still not ones to be pigeonholed, Pulp is a documentary that is as much about the band’s birthplace as the band itself.
In 2011, over 10 years after they originally disbanded, Pulp embarked on a reunion tour that would culminate with a show in their hometown. Unsatisfied with how things ended the first time around, this is frontman Jarvis Cocker’s attempt to re-write their ending and create a lasting document that will testify to the band’s resonance (he is credited with the concept for the film).
With large parts of the final concert shown, it teases being a concert film at times, but then will cut away to an interview like a restless DJ who only plays two minutes of every song. What’s interesting is its concentration on age groups you would assume are outside Pulp’s demographic. Instead of the 30-somethings who would have been teens in Pulp’s prime, the interviews are mostly with the town’s youth and Sheffielders who would recall the Beatles’ rise to fame, all of whom have a relationship with the music. The highlight of the film is without a doubt the restaurant full of pensioners performing their rendition of the underappreciated tune “Help the Aged.” (Noah Taylor)
Sunday, April 27th, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, 11:59pm
Monday, April 28th, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1, 4:00pm
Sunday, May 4th, Royal Cinema, 7:00pm