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Bukowski: Born Into This (John Dullaghan)


Bukowski: Born Into This (John Dullaghan)

Henry Charles Bukowski was one of the few people whose art was realized and recognized while he was still alive. The typical story is an individual impacting generations after living a life of poverty and despair, where the populous enjoys their work long after they’ve left this earth. Through Bukowski’s tenacity at writing on a daily basis while holding a job he loathed, along with his discovery by John Martin, publisher of Black Sparrow Press, he published 37 books and countless poems. Poems and stories that described life and people in a way no other had. He cut out the crap, and people loved him for it.

This week, the week of his birthday on August 16, John Dullaghan, who is also a struggling artist of a different medium, is releasing this documentary. Thankfully, he left his solid advertising career after it sent him to the emergency room with severe chest pains, and found a different calling in film. It was seven years in the making, having interviewed over 150 people in Bukowski’s life, from the women who inspired his book “Women” (one of his more controversial novels) to Sean Penn and Bono’s rendition of a night out with the writer.

On a shoestring budget and a family to support, Dullaghan paid his dues and come up with gold. Fans of Bukowski’s work know of his swaggering, alcoholic and brash nature. What many don’t know is his soft underbelly. And you see both sides in 113 minutes. Even when the man is simply explaining something, not even reading his own poetry, he still seems to be reciting life, speaking in a rhythmic tone of a poet through and through. When being interviewed by a European journalist who asked him to describe love, he replied simply, “Love is like a fog that disappears with the first daylight of reality.”

You see his heart, what he seems to call his “bluebird” that stays safe and tucked in. Having a beat ridden childhood, he seems almost grateful for getting the penchant for bullshit kicked right out of him. That enabled him to write the way he did.

The inspiration for his novel “Hollywood” came after writing the screenplay for the movie Barfly, which was supposed to model the earlier part of his life. Bukowski got to experience and witness this other world that drowns in ignorance and greed, typically suffocating any level of real art. In contrast, he himself would have been content with a menial living doing anything to pay the bills as long as his typewriter was there for him everyday. And it wasn’t until John Martin came along did he ever consider making an actual living off his writing.

Dullaghan uses subtle ways to subtly represent personality traits of Bukowski, even in the use of subtitles with hand written edits that mimic the writer’s own editing style.

In the end, after all the sacrifices (which he never saw as sacrifices, just life experiences that were aggravating), and after all the pain of his childhood, he was content. And the bluebird was free.

Bukowski: Born Into This is playing exclusively at Starz Filmcenter in Denver


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