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Bukowski at Bellevue (1995)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Biography
In the Spring of 1970 CHARLES BUKOWSKI, then little known, packed his overnight bag, locked the door of his tumbledown East Hollywood apartment behind him, and took his first plane ride to ... See full summary »
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In the Spring of 1970 CHARLES BUKOWSKI, then little known, packed his overnight bag, locked the door of his tumbledown East Hollywood apartment behind him, and took his first plane ride to the state of Washington to read at Bellevue Community College. This pioneer reading (only his fourth ever) was videotaped in black-and-white using two cameras by students and the film lay forgotten for 18 years. While the technical aspects of this film are shaky, all of this one hour reading comes through loud and clear. Here is Bukowski, at mid-life but at the beginning of a great career, reading powerfully and with grit and humor. A once in-a-lifetime moment has been rediscovered.

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Raw Footage of the Poet
5 November 2010 | by See all my reviews

Bukowski at Bellevue is basically amateur footage of one of the poet's readings, unearthed after thirty or so years. With little or no introductory matter, it plunges straight into the readings, as Bukowski reads some of his best poetry for the audience.

The film and sound quality testifies to the film's amateur origins, with the sound level at times fluctuating, and the film itself briefly freezing up as the audio goes on. However, viewers interested enough to rent this will not be watching for the technical aspects. Rather, they will thrill to hearing the man himself read poems such as "I Think of the Little Men."

This film is best seen as a companion piece for the documentary Bukowski: Born Into This. Combining the latter film's examination of the poet's life with footage of him in action has an excellent effect.


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