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Year: 2003
USA: Magnolia Pictures
UK: ICA Projects
Cast: Charles Bukowski, Sean Penn, Bono, Harry Dean Stanton
Director: John Dullaghan
Country: USA
USA: 113 mins
UK: 121 mins
USA Release Date: 28 May 2004 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 30 April 2004


Author Charles Bukowski was one of those rare writers whose work created a myth of epic proportions around its creator. Over the years, the name "Bukowski" has become synonymous with screwing, drinking and fighting, seedy barrooms and foul-mouthed prostitutes, low-paying jobs and roach-infested hotel rooms. For readers, Bukowski has come to personify the lower depths of human existence; in a direct, powerful and very personal style, he writes about an unthinkable but very real degradation-degradation based on his own life experiences.

BUKOWSKI: BORN INTO THIS is the first comprehensive documentary of Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) and while long-time fans will find confirmation of the Bukowski they'd always imagined, there are plenty of surprises in store. The film traces his extraordinary life, from an abusive childhood through decades of poverty and alcoholism; numerous menial jobs and turbulent relationships; through 14 years as a postal employee; and his eventual international celebrity as a poet, novelist and underground cult icon. In his lifetime, Bukowski became most widely known as the screenwriter and real-life model for BARFLY, the feature film based on his early life.

Director John Dullaghan spent seven years researching and shooting BUKOWSKI: BORN INTO THIS, conducting dozens of interviews with relatives, neighbors, teenage pals, fellow post office workers, girlfriends and other poets as well as better-known friends like Bono, Sean Penn, Harry Dean Stanton, Barbet Schroeder and Taylor Hackford.

Dullaghan traveled the world obtaining documents, photos and footage of Bukowski, and has worked closely with those who knew Bukowski best-particularly Bukowski's wife, Linda, with whom he has also helped organize the Bukowski archive in San Pedro, CA. While the film was undertaken out of an appreciation for Bukowski, Dullaghan went to great lengths to present the different sides of the author, offering the most revealing look yet of Bukowski and his work. The result is a film that peels off the hardened mask of the mythic Bukowski to reveal the insecure, loving and extremely human man - and the artist - underneath.

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