Notes of a dirty old man

Bukowski – Born Into This At the Lumier now and general release DVD released in August 2005 Like many talented people, it is only now, over ten years after his death, that Charles Bukowski will gain wider exposure…after he is no longer threatening.

Charles “Hank” Bukowski was born into a German immigrant family, and was regularly beaten by his father. At puberty he developed the most horrendous acne, which ostracised him from his piers. With now love at home or outside of it Buck took to travelling, menial work, drinking and betting on the races. Somehow through this process of making a rough, tough hard man, at the centre remained an artist.

Bukowski wrote raw and he wrote brutal. It is honest and it is beautiful. Hanks subject matter was very autobiographical. The races, the depression, the women, the violence and the drinking through it all Bukowski didn’t let the smallest crack appear in his tough exterior, and only let the poetry out through his writing.

Shakespeare never did this

The most impressive aspect of this film is the amount and range of footage. On the whole, it is of poor quality, but the fact that it exists at all is amazing. In addition to the footage of Buck doing reading or sitting around drinking are recent interviews with those that mat him, ranging from friends like Neeli Cherkovski (author of the biography Hank) through to fans like Bono (of U2).

Buck will always exist predominantly through his writings. It is only because he is so much a part of his writing that this documentary is not some self-indulgent wank. In filming writing for his film Naked Lunch, David Cronenberg spoke about the difficulty of filming the process of creativity. In this documentary you get an insight into the background of the man and the life that populated his writings, but ultimately it is the writing that is important. There are things missing from this documentary, like the fine 1981 adaptation of Tales of Ordinary Madness – “Storie di ordinaria follia”. “Born Into This” covers his time working at the post office, his marriages, his refusal (or inability) to conform, and his eventual ability to support himself (just) through his writing.

For anyone familiar with the writings and poetry of Charles Bukowski, this documentary on the mans life is a must, so you are already converted.
As to how the uninitiated will react to this film, is difficult to say, but I hope that it will help open his work up to a wider audience.