Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Bukowksi - Born Into This

Bukowski: Born Into This DVD (Kaleidoscope/Shock)
Directed by : John Cullaghan
Let’s start with the disclaimer – I’ve just watched this DVD again, I’m listening to a Bukowski spoken word cd now and I’m eyeing off the new Buk biography sitting on my left so the chances of this review being unbiased would seem next to impossible. So, why even try?
An eight year labour of love for first time director John Cullaghan, Born Into This is more than just a bio-pic for fans, though of course, we are well looked after. Cullaghan has also managed to show us the poet as well as the drunk, the womaniser, he has remembered the words, the reason why people are so taken with Hank. And that is sometimes, if not mostly, forgotten. Sure he WAS a drunk, a womaniser (though really he was just making up for lost time) but he was first and foremost a writer, a poet, a man who knew how to get the straight line down, knew how to express the life, the hopes, the failures, the drinking, the women, the escapes and the humour, the small victories, the mad laughter of the working class, the underclass, the people you and I step over on our way to the band, the job, parties, class, spoken word gigs, pubs and trains home while pretending to be working class ourselves.
And by talking to those that knew him, old girlfriends, workmates, his wives, writers, directors, his publisher, friends and the odd musician and letting them have their say, interspersed with footage of Bukowksi himself sprouting words and nonsense, drunken banter, truths and lies, Cullaghan has managed to get behind the myth of Bukowski and let us see the man beneath. Including perhaps surprisingly for some, the romantic that lurked beneath the tough man image, the search for love that even the self proclaimed ‘iceman’ succumbed to. Crying during a reading about a former girlfriend, waiting for another girlfriend to come home, like all the old time tough guys from the depression era, beaten down and hurt, all they really want is someone to love them.
As a fanatic I was pretty happy with this documentary (other than the need to find the rest of the footage from the various early docos and interviews) and if I didn’t know too much about this guy, after watching this and hearing his words, I think I’d be looking


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