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Bukowski: Born Into This (2002)

Cast: Charles Bukowski, Charles Bukowski, Bono, more...
Director: John Dullaghan, John Dullaghan
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Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
Genre: Documentary, Biographies, Quirky Characters
Running Time: 113 min.
Languages: English
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Advertising writer John Dullaghan makes his feature-length directorial debut with the documentary Bukowski: Born Into This. The infamous poet, novelist, and screenwriter Charles Bukowski has made a legacy of writing about hard living in a unique prose style. His work paralleled his lifestyle, leading to the autobiographical novels Women, Hollywood, and Post Office. This documentary investigates his life through archival clips, interviews, and footage of the man himself. He appears at a public reading in San Francisco's City Lights Bookstore. Conversations with Bukowski's friends, including rock star Bono and actor Sean Penn, reveals some personal stories and experiences. Bukowski: Born Into This was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize in the documentary competition at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

The Real Thing--and a Matter of Taste by talltale March 26, 2006 - 11:54 AM PST
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
BUKOWSKI: BORN INTO IT is as rich and full a documentary as you are likely to see about a single subject--in this case a man. Lasting nearly two hours, it tells as much about poet/novelist/asshole Henry Charles Bukowski as you could want. Finishing it, you should have a pretty fair idea of who this man was, what his writing covers and many of the people who surrounded him.

It's rare for any documentary to have the camera running at times when its subject is abusing his wife/girlfriend, but you get that here, and it's disturbing, all right. You also get Mr. Bukowski ruminating on everything from his dad (and the beatings he took off the guy), his work, women, sex, love and life in general.

I've only read a little of Bukowski's work and found it interesting but not particularly profound or moving. (Perhaps the samples chosen for the film do not reflect the author as well as they night; still, I would imagine the moviemakers attempted to do this as best they could, so, possibly, this sampling is quite appropriate.) After watching the documentary, I think I can appreciate and understand the writer a bit better.

Bukowski never grew up (understandably, given his life as a child), and neither did his writing, as good as it sometimes is. His attitude toward life and work and women reflects this adolescent stance, and it is easy to appreciate his popularity among those who share his views. (I suspect there are a lot of us "children posing as adults" who echo the Bukowski attitude.) Some of these, according to the documentary's guest list, include Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Bono and (perhaps not quite such an aficionado) Taylor Hackford. In any case, the film is a must for lovers of this writer, or for any one who wants to know more about him.

the bluebird by MDixon March 25, 2006 - 5:23 AM PST
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
I haven't always been a huge Bukowski fan, having only read a bit of his work. But, I'll admit to having bought into the myth, as addressed in this film. Gives a richer, more nuanced portrait of a man who proved to be more complex and interesting than I knew before. Expertly assembled by John Dullaghan from footage filmed over thirty years or so, by various film makers, and even Bono manages to be not quite so annoying. Don't know why this got so few stars from some previous raters - may prove to be the best doc released this year on DVD.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.29)
34 Votes
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Movies About Writers
Some of the best films about writers, although very few get the writer's life exactly write, er, right. Writers, we're a mopey, lonely lot according to most films. (Well, that part's accurate.)

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