> Volume 6 > Number 26


John Dullaghan

Charles Bukowski
Joyce Fante
Michael Cano
Tom Waits

Release: 4 Jun. 04

Bukowski: Born into This


Like many people of my generation, I was introduced to Charles Bukowski in high school when the canon fodder of my English courses failed to speak to me. While Bukowski’s prose weren’t always representative of my self, his poetry and novels had personality to spare. Even if I never read any biographical material, I felt like I knew Charles Bukowski.

There were still blanks, of course, in my understanding of the Bukowski ethos, which is where the new documentary Bukowski: Born into This comes in. Built largely on film excerpts from Bukowski decades of public appearances, the film draws many conclusions as to what provoked such a rabid writer to come out of this man: the broken background, the obsession with women, the deformed face.

However, most of the people interviewed fail to truly compliment Bukowski himself. There are the occasional friends who have something to say, but it’s hard to find much insight in an interview with Bono from U2 as he waxes poetically on why he loved Bukowski’s work. I only entertainer who might have something to say is Mickey Rourke, likely unwilling to appear in this film. Unlike the others, he could explain what it’s like to poorly portray Bukowski in Barfly, long creating a false impression of Bukowski until this film

©2004, David Perry,, 25 June 2004