Monday, 20 April 2009

Charles Bukowski: Hollywood

Most of Bukowski's novels deal with 'Tales of Ordinary Madness.' Yet he notes in this work that he has never witnessed anything just as mad as the Hollywood film industry.

In real life, he had the chance to write the screenplay for the film 'Barfly.' The book 'Hollywood' is a fictionalized account of this experience.

There are some really strange scenes, like the producer who threatens to cut off his fingers with a chainsaw unless the film is made. This helps the work stand out from the other Bukowski novels I have read. For despite his involvement, he is writing as an outside observer. He openly admits that he is not a movie buff and does not really enjoy films. He also claims that the reason these films get made is because we have got so used to bad films- we can't really tell the difference between good and bad anymore.

There are some beautiful moments of insight too- like imagining the actor who for most of his working life needs to pretend to be someone else. The tendrums of this actor are described as an inability to relate to people in any real context because of his lack of pyschological rooted-ness.

This book also gets to see Bukowski at the end of his life enjoying some real success. This is satisfying after reading about his childhood (Ham and Rye) and the mind numbing jobs he has had to suffer. (Post Office.)

This is a good book to leave and savour after getting through the other Bukowski corpus.

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