KCET, an independent film channel in Los Angeles, presents an episode from their vaults featuring the one and only novelist and poet Charles Bukowski.
Some of this footage was used for the feature-length documentary Born Into This. You can watch Born Into This free here.
Director Taylor Hackford (An Officer and a Gentleman, The Devil’s Advocate, Ray) discusses making “Artbound: Bukowski Reads Bukowski” in Born Into This, remarking on how differently his subject wrote about the experience from how the footage showed it going down.
One week he wrote this article in (Los Angeles Free Press) about going to San Francisco to read, and having these punk, stupid, asshole filmmakers along. And he was trying to kind of help them along, and organizing this and that, as these people bumble along and ask stupid questions, and so on. It was quite an entertaining, funny piece.
So I read it, and I saw him later, and I said, “Hank…I read that article.”
He said, “Yeah, baby, what’d ya think?”
I said, “Well I thought it was full of shit, man.” I said, “You forget, I have the film. You’re the guy who’s drunk on the plane, making a fool out of yourself, and you made me…”
He says, “Hey, baby, when I write, I’m the hero of my shit.” And he says, “You got your film, you do your film.”
It’s Hackford’s voice you hear asking Bukowski questions, and toward the end being threatened. This is the footage that, it just so happens, begins Born Into This. Well, it just wouldn’t be complete without at least one scene of Bukowski drunk and angry. He also discusses why he wrote poetry.
Poems read include, “the rat,” “Law,” and “man mowing the lawn across the way from me,” all of which can be read in full here.