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Barfly 1987 ***

Poet, author and full time boozer, Charles Bukowski’s work has, not surprisingly, been hard to adapt for the screen; this 1987 production, directed by Barbet Schroeder, features a script that could only be written by Bukowski. Mickey Rourke plays Henry Chinaski, an LA –based writer who props up bars all over the city, and who has a difficult relationship with fellow soak Wanda (Faye Dunaway). Made as part of the Golan Globus break for credibility via serious movies, partnered here with Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope production company, Barfly is a very, very dark portrait of creativity and alcoholism, rendered vividly by Rourke and Dunaway. Supporting casts don’t get much more eclectic than Frank Stallone, Eraserhead’s Jack Nance, and Alice Krige. Barfly isn’t a lot of laughs, but it’s a good introduction to Bukowski.

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