DVD Release Date: 3/21/2006
Author Charles Bukowski was one of those rare writers whose work created a myth of epic proportions around its creator. Over the years, the name "Bukowski" has become synonymous with screwing, drinking and fighting, seedy barrooms and foul-mouthed prostitutes, low-paying jobs and roach-infested hotel rooms. For readers, Bukowski has come to personify the lower depths of human existence; in a direct, powerful and very personal style, he writes about an unthinkable but very real degradation-degradation based on his own life experiences.
Bukowski: Born Into This is the first comprehensive documentary of Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) and while longtime fans will find confirmation of the Bukowski they'd always imagined, there are plenty of surprises in store. The film traces his extraordinary life, from an abusive childhood through decades of poverty and alcoholism; numerous menial jobs and turbulent relationships; through 14 years as a postal employee; and his eventual international celebrity as a poet, novelist and underground cult icon. In his lifetime, Bukowski became most widely known as the screenwriter and real-life model for Barfly, the feature film based on his early life.
Director John Dullaghan spent seven years researching and shooting Bukowski: Born Into This, conducting dozens of interviews with relatives, neighbors, teenage pals, fellow post office workers, girlfriends and other poets as well as better-known friends like Bono, Sean Penn, Harry Dean Stanton, Barbet Schroeder and Taylor Hackford.
Dullaghan traveled the world obtaining documents, photos and footage of Bukowski, and has worked closely with those who knew Bukowski best-particularly Bukowski's wife, Linda, with whom he has also helped organize the Bukowski archive in San Pedro, CA. While the film was undertaken out of an appreciation for Bukowski, Dullaghan went to great lengths to present the different sides of the author, offering the most revealing look yet of Bukowski and his work. The result is a film that peels off the hardened mask of the mythic Bukowski to reveal the insecure, loving and extremely human man-and the artist -underneath.
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"***1/2. A VALUABLE MOVIE. It provides a face and voice to go with Bukowski's work." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times
"The raw and defining documentary about the man - and the myth." - Allison Benedikt, Chicago Tribune
"A COMPREHENSIVE, OFTEN HILARIOUS, NEVER-DULL-FOR-A-MOMENT DOCUMENTARY." - Ray Pride, New City
"A GREAT DOCUMENTARY!" - Bob Longino, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"A TERRIFIC FILM! A shocking, surprisingly tender and sometimes frightening portrait." - M.E. Russell, The Oregonian
"Compelling enough to enthrall even those who've never read a poem in their lives." - Becky Ohlsen, Wilamette Week
"EXTREMELY COMPREHENSIVE. Even if you're not a huge Bukowski fan, seeing this rise to fame should be inspiring to anyone." - Katie Shimer, Portland Mercury
"GRADE A! POWERFUL. BEAUTIFULLY ASSEMBLED. It reveals Bukowski to be a far grander artist than his bum's armor would suggest." - Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
"THE DEFINITIVE DOCUMENTARY PORTRAIT. Engrossing, skillfully woven. It makes a strong case for Bukowski as a major American poet." - Stephen Holden, NY Times
"As a thorough examination of what made this boozing, brawling womanizer tick, this can't be beat. Every minute he's on screen it's hard to look away." - Megan Lehmann, NY Post
"A SUPERB DOCUMENTARY PROFILE" - Darren D'Addario, Time Out New York
"An engrossing, comprehensive documentary that never turns a blind eye to Bukowski's faults." - Maitland McDonagh, Time Out New York
"IT'S THE MOVIE BUKOWSKI DESERVES. An even-handed, intimate, comprehensive, moving and funny tale." - Alexander Zaitchik, NY Press
"COMPELLING." - Mark Holcomb, Village Voice
"MORE THAN WORTHY OF ITS SUBJECT. Excellent, beautifully accomplished. A celebration of a dedicated artist's exceedingly rough road to redemption." - Kevin Thomas, LA Times
"It makes a funny, often intensely moving case, and you're having such a good time that you're glad to let it." - Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"It's to director Dullaghan's credit that he offers a portrait that digs beyond the hard-drinking, hard-loving persona." - Paul Sherman, Boston Herald
"A REMARKABLE MOVIE." - Robert Wilonsky, SF Weekly
"Bukowski cultivated a persona that begs for documentary treatment, and he gets a good one in this movie." - Walter Addiego, SF Chronicle
"A BEAUTIFULLY ASSEMBLED MOVIE. A rare job in conveying the subject's art." - Dennis Harvey, SF Bay Guardian
"A full-blooded portrait of the struggling artist as a true modern hero." - Stephen Farber, LA Times
"AN UNFORGETTABLE PORTRAIT. This is that rare document which manages to be entirely truthful." - FX Feeney, KPCC
"Compelling. Told with candor and poetry befitting the subject." - Leonard Klady, LA City Beat
<"This film doesn't pull any punches. Dullaghan delivers the Bukowski we all know and love." - Tulsa Kinney, LA Weekly