Bukowski: Born Into This

Watch Bukowski: Born Into This

  • R
  • 2002
  • 2 hr 10 min
  • 7.8  (3,617)
  • 77

Bukowski: Born Into This is a 2003 documentary film that delves deep into the life, work, and personality of one of America's most legendary writers, Charles Bukowski, who was born into a troubled and dysfunctional family in 1920s Germany and spent most of his life in Los Angeles, becoming a cult figure and symbol of the outsider movemen1t.

Directed by John Dullaghan, the film is a comprehensive and intimate portrait of Bukowski as seen through interviews, archive footage, photographs, readings, and testimonials from his friends, fans, and family. It is not a hagiographic tribute or a mere retelling of Bukowski's famous stories of sex, booze, and low-life adventures but a multidimensional exploration of his complex psyche, his artistic vision, and his impact on a generation of writers and readers.

The film follows Bukowski's trajectory from his humble beginnings as a stock boy, dishwasher, and postal employee to his rise as a published poet, short-story writer, and novelist, with a special focus on his struggles with alcoholism, poverty, rejection, and illness. Bukowski's own voice fills the movie with raw honesty, humor, and vulnerability, as he talks about his childhood traumas, his hatred of authority, his appreciation of women, and his obsession with writing as a way of transcending his own ugliness and pain.

The film also features rare glimpses into Bukowski's private life, including his relationship with his wife, Linda Lee Bukowski, whom he met in a San Pedro bar in 1963 and who became his soulmate, muse, and caretaker until his death in 1994. Linda shares her memories of Bukowski's creative process, his love of cats, and his intense bouts of anger and tenderness, which inspired some of his most memorable poems and stories. In addition, the film includes interviews with Bukowski's literary peers and fans, such as Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Harry Dean Stanton, Taylor Hackford, and Bono, who reads his favorite Bukowski poem, "The Laughing Heart."

One of the most striking aspects of the film is its visual style, which matches Bukowski's gritty and unapologetic prose with a mixture of black-and-white and color footage, animation, and music that reflects the mood and tone of his writing. From the bleak streets of Skid Row to the neon-lit bars and horse races of Hollywood, from the haunting images of World War II to the surreal landscapes of Bukowski's imagination, the film captures the essence of his art and his worldview, which blend cynicism, compassion, and courage in equal measure.

Overall, Bukowski: Born Into This is a must-see for anyone interested in Bukowski's life and work, as well as for those who want to learn more about the Beat and postmodern movements that he helped to shape. It is a tribute to the power of the written word, the resilience of the human spirit, and the importance of authenticity, no matter how ugly, funny, or painful it may be.

Bukowski: Born Into This
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 10 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.8  (3,617)
  • Metascore