Jefferson N. from BLAIRSVILLE, GA Reviewed on 6/30/2011...
If you are a fan of Charles Bukowski, you are going to love this film. If you're not, you will be after seeing it! This was the first time I had been introduced to this man's work, and after seeing it, I can't wait to track down his books and read them! This man broke all the barriers of what poetry is and brought his voice and a new style to the world...a style that isn't all about form and beat, but about heart. And the documentary itself is a solid look at Bukowski's work and his entire life. It's very thorough and in-depth. Everything is touched upon...from his horrible childhood, to his years of being a drifter, a postal employee, and the years when he was the darling of the hippie movement (which he hated)...until his final years as a wise man looking at a sick, sad world...and wanting to leave some good in it. A brilliant man and a brilliant film! If you are into dark poetry or just good documentary biographies...you have to see it!!!
tupelony | 01/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"They finally are going to release this. I saw Born Into This in a small theater in NY. I have always been a big fan of Bukowski ever since a friend loaned me "Roominghouse Madrigals". I corresponded with CB briefly just before his death. I have always felt that eventhough Bukowski was/is incredibly famous by any "poet" measure, he has been sadly overlooked by the scholarly crowd. I can't imagine anybody reading a substantial portion of his work and not agreeing with me that Buk was one of the most influential and important writers of the last century. There have been several biographies written about Buk, none of which did him justice. This film is the first one in my opinion. You get a real feel for what made him tick, his genius and at times his recklessness. You also get a look at the love he had for his last wife and her unflailing patience with him. The entire film is entertaining, touching, educational and everything else you could ask for. My recommendation is see this even if the only connection you have to Buk is watching Barfly. You'll be picking up Post Office in no time."
Treated with love and respect
Kirk Alex | 05/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm glad this was made! Saw it in a theatre when it opened about three years ago and was happy to see it was out on DVD recently--and snapped one up off the amazon site right away.
Props to the filmmaker! A big thank you to Tom Waits (another favorite) for making an appearance and for reading the Buk poem. Others have tried to read Bukowski's stuff, and it just doesn't work, doesn't come off right. Waits is absolutely perfect for this sort of material and ought to consider doing an entire album of either Buk's prose and/or poetry.
Back to Bukowski for a minute: I don't care what his detractors continue to moan and gripe about when it comes to the man's work--because I said it more than 25 years ago and I'm still saying it today--and I will say keep saying it until the day I die: he was a mad genius!
One good/solid third of his output is pure GOLD--and I am talking about the best stuff. As a result, he will be read forever. In my opinion, this guy remains the greatest American poet of them all, period.
A third of his output is fair, and the last third is quite lousy, in fact, unreadable (and I place Pulp in that last third bunch; some of the stories in Hot Water Music are weak; the novel Hollywood is really not as good as it otherwise might have been, etc) -- but, so what? How many great hitters, get the best, can hit a homer each and every time at bat? Every single time? No way.
Did the writer have flaws and weaknesses as a man? Hell, yes! Who isn't flawed? I'm not perfect, and neither are you--or anyone else. All I have to say just take a real good look at what the man endured as a child, look what he lived through. And if you can't understand that, and don't get it, or simply REFUSE to get it...well, there is nothing else to be said.
I was pleasantly surprised to see how truly insightful Taylor Hackford's take on the man was, also Linda Bukowski's comments were quite poignant.
Where was the other Linda, by the way? Why was Linda King left out? And why was Ben Pleasants not included as well? And what about Dan Fante, the late, great John Fante's son?
Okay, I could be nit picking...
The one individual who to me, and this was some kind of downer, did not come off as incredibly bright (and by that I mean lacking true insight into Charles Bukowski) was his long-time publisher John Martin. Yes, give him credit for having had at least enough intelligence for seeing value in Bukowski's writing, but that's about it.
I could be wrong here, and I hope I am, but I have this feeling that the reason some of Buk's poetry lacks his verve and profundity/punch could be because Martin (or someone employed by him) may have done some "minor" editing and/or trimming here and there. Like I said, I am only guessing --but some of the lines come across as truly weak and pedestrian in various volumes written towards the end of the writer's life.
Again, I could be wrong, but some of the material just does not hold up. Could have been Buk (having some off days; it happens--and I am talking about stuff written way before illness was upon him) or it could be something else.
By the way, when will the Bukowski Tapes (shot by Barbet Shroeder) be put out on DVD? Isn't it about time? Come on, Barbet!
John Dullaghan: again, thanks for hanging in there!
Yes, I was one of those who wept when I heard the man was gone. I admit it, a Nam vet, been around, lived through some heavy /hard times of my own, seen my share of it...and I wept. We loved him, still do."
Bernard Chapin | CHICAGO! USA | 07/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So says the grave of Charles Bukowski a man who, behind his pocked and weathered face, had an ambition of which no one would have guessed. At this point, readers may have grown tired of hearing me rave about this or that documentary--as I have seen so many excellent ones over the course of the last year; however, "Born Into This," is as good a bio-pic as any ever made. It is unbelievably interesting and artful. The director knew Bukowski well, and this footage is extremely intimate. Stylistically, its strongest feature is the superimposing of Buk's poetry and sentences across the screen--which are then reproduced at the same speed at which he speaks. It creates a powerful effect and this is never more true than when he passionately mouths the title poem.
It's really not a pretty tale. Bukowski led a sorrowful life. Although, its damage was somewhat mitigated by his later, unforeseeable, success in which "the blondes with the [certain unmentionable physical attribute] came too late." There was a certain, dare-I-say, nobility about this dirty and talented old man. He existed to drink, write, and have sex. He was what he was, and how many people can say the same? There was not a once of pretension in him. He had a high level of artistic integrity and wrote diligently every day. Even if one doesn't like Charles Bukowski or feels repulsed by him, his perspective was so unique that one must appreciate him. What a life! This documentary captures the man far better than any book that I've read about him. I'd say R.I.P., but I'm not sure peace is something he ever wanted."
The BEST introduction to the real Bukowski you can get
S. S. Harrison | San Francisco, CA USA | 02/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I stopped watching television about 14 years ago becasue of all of the commericalized garbage flooding out from the little screen into my home. I do watch videos and DVDs and it is a pure delight to me that they are bringing this extrodinary Bukowski documentary out on DVD. I saw it in a theatre here in San Fransico and I loved it so much. Why? Well becasue it was so real. It was about this man, Bukowski, survior of the United States Post Office that somehow, with poetry no less, escaped and soared from the really wretched miserable corner he was in and created his own life on his own terms. And he did it with with honesty to make a Santa Cluse blush. It is a powerful story and Born Into This needs to be given credit for not merely being superb film-making but for going behind the myth and introducing the very sensitive, teddy bear Bukowski behind the mask. That wrote as the great musicians make music. Before I went to see the film a young woman said it made her cry and I went and saw it and I see why. It doesn't hurt at all having Bono sitting down and singing Bukowski's praises either. I have two wishes. That people that have misjudged Charles Bukowski will watch this DVD and give him a chance and then go out and read his work. My second wish is that David Chase will make a Dirty Old Man series to follow his success with The Sopranos to prove it wasn't a fluke. And I hope John Dullaghan who made this fine documentary will make many more films. I guess that was three."
Documentary of a Dirty Old Man
Cubist | United States | 03/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Charles Bukowski was an uncompromising counterculture icon and this documentary, Bukowski: Born Into This, attempts to provide some insight into his life and unique worldview.
Director John Dullaghan has found some great, vintage archival footage of Bukowski at his rawest - drunken ramblings that, at times, almost seem confessional in nature. We also see him at poetry readings feeding into his mythology of a foul-mouthed purveyor of skid row culture. And there is footage of his private side - a gentle, family man living in the shadow of his cruel, abusive father.
Born Into This paints a fascinating portrait of a crude, hard-drinking man given to bouts of paranoia and jealousy. Bukowski led a hard life but one devoid of sympathy for his plight because it was a life he chose to lead. Dullaghan has put together a compelling doc that succeeds at dispelling many of the myths surrounding Bukowski and manages to celebrate his work while also showing his less than savory side. This doesn't demonize the man but rather humanizes him, presenting a fuller picture.
Six previously unpublished Bukowski poems are reproduced on this DVD. They will eventually see the light of day in a new collection to be published in January 2007.
"Bukowski's Final Home Movie Footage From 1992" was shot by his wife and is considered to be the last known footage of him before his death in 1994. In it, he reads a couple pieces of his work.
There is a deleted scene where publisher John Martin recounts a story of how a female fan wrote to Bukowski, they met and spent a night together. He ended up writing about the experience. She is interviewed and recounts the experience from her perspective.
Also included are "Extended Interviews" with the likes of Taylor Hackford who gives us a walking tour of East Hollywood where Bukowski used to live and work as a postal carrier. Bono talks about the layers to Bukowski's work and its truthfulness.
Both Tom Waits and Bono read some of Bukowski's poetry. Waits, in particular, has that great gravelly, weathered voice perfect for the man's prose.
"Born Into This: Behind-the-Scenes Featurette." The director talks about how he got into Bukowski's work and the impetus for the documentary. He credits Linda Bukowski with opening a lot of doors and giving him access to people like Bono and some of her husband's close friends.
Finally, there is an engaging audio commentary by the film's director John Dullaghan. The director talks about the extensive research and leg work he did and also goes into detail about Bukowski's life, pointing out things that didn't make it into the film. Best of all, he tells all sorts of great Bukowski anecdotes in this enjoyable track."