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THE FILM

"A long night spent drinking, smoking, and talking about sex, literature, childhood and humanity with irreverent writer/poet Charles Bukowski in his California home  in 1981. A story of video tapes lost, then found, and brought back to life."  

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This documentary is based on a video interview conducted by journalist Silvia Bizio in January of 1981 with writer Charles Bukowski at his home in San Pedro, California. It was a long night of endless talk while smoking cigarettes and drinking red wine with Bukowski and his soon to be wife, Linda Lee Beighle; he talks about all kind of subjects: literature, his relation with other writers,  sex, poetry, love, humanity. The interview was shot on Umatic tapes which have been digitized and edited; new images of today's Los Angeles were shot with a Super8 camera, a poignant counterpoint to poems read by the same Bukowski.

 

DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT 

When we found the old tapes containing my mother Silvia Bizio's interview with Charles Bukowski..

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..we knew we had in our hands an important piece of history. I wasn’t Bukowski’s biggest fan at that time, but after listening to his voice and words for countless hours I realized the power of his work.

I was trying to find the most original and unique way to portray this piece of history. There had already been a couple of biographical documentaries about Bukowski's life, and I felt that I could not have done a better job of telling that story. I wanted to let people create their own idea of who Bukowski was just by listening to him. I wanted the audience to feel as if they were part of that evening, as if they were sitting on the couch besides Bukowski drinking and listening to his thoughts.

By mixing his poetry with images of a side of Los Angeles I thought he was connected to, I wanted to let his artwork be the pauses throughout the film to allow the audience to stop and reflect about what they were hearing. I wanted to shoot those images with a Super 8 camera to keep the same frame size of 4:3 of the Umatict old tapes, and to best match the faded look of the original footage. And just like the finding of those precious videotapes in our garage, I feel I got lucky with the shots I wanted.

In the process of making the film I was offered by my friend Eric Cannata, member of the thriving California bands Travelers and Young the Giant – and a Bukowski’s fan himself - to help me with the original score, which he composed along with three other members of the two bands. They were able to find an expression in the music that fit the mood so perfectly, and this really gave the film an important final touch.

Matteo Borgardt

 

This documentary is based on a video interview conducted in January of 1981..

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I was at the beginning of my career as a foreign journalist in Los Angeles and I did a video interview with the  famed writer  Charles Bukowski at his home in San Pedro, California.   It was a long night of smoking cigarettes and drinking wine with Bukowski and his soon to be wife, Linda Lee Beighle, talking about all kind of subjects, from writers to sex, love and humanity.  It was the beginning of many years of friendship, of long nights, talking, smoking and drinking on his comfortable couch. The interview was shot on Umatic tapes, which were almost lost for over 30 years.  I had almost forgotten about those tapes.  Then one day, as I went through the boxes in my garage, I found them, old and dusty. The sound was ruined, and the colors had faded, but not all was lost. I was lucky, and a memory of that night is still alive.  The tapes have been digitized and edited along with new shots in Super8 of scenes of Los Angeles today and poems read by the same Bukowski. Still now, after all these years, I look back at that night with fondness. As a journalist these are the kind of interviews you dream about, where there is no holding back, where everything is game. Hank will always be special to me. I am grateful and honored for the years of friendship, for the insights he gave me about his life, for these tapes and for a memory that could have been lost.  

SILVIA BIZIO