“Pulp” isn’t a concert film. It’s a love story.
Sure, there is concert footage in the documentary — and much of it is quite impressive. Yet, the meat of the matter is the relationship between the Britpop band Pulp and its hometown of Sheffield, England.
The Florian Habicht-directed film — which made its world premiere Sunday at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, with members of the band in attendance — shows that Pulp is to Sheffield what Bruce Springsteen is to New Jersey.
It’s a fascinating analysis, which uses Sheffield to explain Pulp and vice-versa. The ties that bind grow more apparent as the film progresses, until it’s impossible not to see how this Northern England city of some 500,000 people, with a strong working class and much history in the Industrial Revolution, colors and informs nearly every Pulp song.
The concert footage, while clearly not as abundant as some might hope, is quite good. It features archival clips as well as new stock from Pulp’s homecoming show in December 2012, which was its last U.K. gig before embarking on yet another (hopefully shorter) hiatus.
I was fortunate enough to see the band earlier that same year, during a fantastic show at the Warfield in San Francisco, and was impressed at how well Habicht captured the Pulp live experience.
Yet, remember, this is not a true concert film. It’s a film about the synergy between a band and its hometown. It’s original. It’s poignant. And it’s certainly worth your time.