Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision is excited to open the national theatrical release of Pulp: A Film about Life, Death and Supermarkets (2014), a new film from Florian Habicht, the innovative director of Love Story (2011) and Kaikohe Demolition (2004). The film was made in collaboration with Jarvis Cocker and won Best Music Film at the NME Awards in London last month.
Pulp has screened in 50 international film festivals, and also took the audience prize at In-Edit Barcelona, the world’s largest music film festival. It is coming to the big screen in New Zealand for a national release that includes select cinemas in Wellington, Auckland, Waiheke, Matakana, Christchurch and Dunedin.
What happens when a band who struggled for 15 years to gain recognition finally become pop stars with an anthem that resonates with the world? How do they deal with fame while remaining true to the song that catapulted them out of the world of common people? And what does it mean to the people of Pulp’s working-class hometown of Sheffield? These questions are beautifully posed by Habicht. A colourful cast of local characters talk about the band, the music, and charismatic frontman Jarvis Cocker, who himself reveals how his humble beginnings shaped him (and still do) and discusses his shy, reserved character versus his exhibitionist stage persona.
Though the film culminates with the farewell concert Pulp played to thousands of adoring fans in their hometown of Sheffield, England, this is by no means a traditional concert film or rock doc. As much a testament to the city and inhabitants of Sheffield as it is to the band, Pulp weaves concert footage with man-on-the-street interviews and dreamy staged sequences to paint a picture much larger, funnier, more moving, and more life-affirming than any music film of recent memory.
While in the UK, where his film Love Story was screening at the London Film Festival, Habicht, who is based in Auckland, reached out to Jarvis Cocker by email and suggested they meet up and talk about making a film together. To his delight, Cocker replied.
It eventuated that Pulp were playing their farewell concert in Sheffield in six weeks’ time. Cocker and his bandmates, Candida Doyle, Nick Banks, Mark Webber and Steve Mackey, were keen to document this. So Habicht needed to assemble a crew and move fast.
“The huge and difficult task of filming the concert at Sheffield Arena completely took over for a couple of weeks,” says Habicht.
“New Zealand editor Peter O’Donoghue came to Sheffield with his portable suite and cut footage as it was coming in, so the film could kinda write itself. Kiwi cinematographer Maria Ines Manchego flew in from New York to direct the photography. After the concert we returned to the streets and built on the idea of getting inside the heads of Sheffield locals and fans as much as inside the heads of the band. To properly understand Pulp, you have to experience where they came from! Jarvis, who wrote the lyrics for Pulp’s anthem ‘Common People,’ doesn’t believe that there is such a thing as a ‘common person’ and I hope this film casts the same message.”
Pulp will screen at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision (84 Taranaki St, Wellington), in a season running 19 March through 11 April.
The opening screening, on Thursday 19 March, will be followed by a Q&A with Florian Habicht and a member of Pulp will be Skyped in from Sheffield.
As well as the screenings at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Wellington, the New Zealand theatrical release includes Rialto Auckland and Dunedin, Matakana Cinema Auckland, and Waiheke Island Community Cinema.