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The Charles Bukowski Tapes (1985)

Charles Bukowski , Barbet Schroeder  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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The Charles Bukowski Tapes + Bukowski - Born Into This + Barfly
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Product Details

  • Actors: Charles Bukowski
  • Directors: Barbet Schroeder
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Barrel
  • DVD Release Date: August 29, 2006
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000GI3KK8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,335 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Charles Bukowski Tapes" on IMDb

Special Features

  • The original, complete four-hour edition, with all 52 segments presented over two DVDs
  • Plus: A 36-page booklet featuring essays by Barbet Schroeder and Bukowski biographer Neeli Cherkovski, as well as a 1987 interview with Charles Bukowski

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

When Barbet Schroeder (More, General Idi Amin Dada, Single White Female) began work on the movie Barfly, he had no idea that it would be such a struggle. During the seven years it took him to complete the film, he turned his cameras on its screenwriter, poet and novelist Charles Bukowski.

"I couldn’t stand the thought of not being able to share the extraordinary evenings we spent together," said Schroeder. "I finally brought in a small crew, friends of mine, with a high quality video set up. Whoever was the least drunk took control of the camera."

Bukowski, legendary for his drunken excess and frank observations on life, love, and survival, took no exception with Schroeder.

Barbet Schroeder recalls, "I had no idea of what I might do with the material, but I didn’t want those evenings to be lost. As I don’t like formal interviews, I tried to get him started on a topic and then keep from interrupting him. The result was often a monologue of three minutes or longer."

Schroeder eventually completed The Charles Bukowski Tapes, a four-hour long study of the man and the music of his words. "The ideal way to show this material was in short video-clips—a new style of film. Once I had screened it this way, it seemed twice as powerful."

Available for the first time in the world on DVD, Barrel Entertainment is proud to present this exceptional portrait of one of America’s most vital voices.

Fifty-two clips of Charles Bukowski ranting and musing comprise Barbet Shroeder’s Charles Bukowski Tapes. It was, until now, a rarity that circulated amongst die-hard Bukowski fans, since the release of Shroeder’s Bukowski-scripted feature, Barfly. This collection of monologues, ranging in topic from Bukowski’s beef with God, to biographical tales of his life as an abused child, to his views on writing as a disciplinary craft, cover the gamut of Bukowski-typical topics, which can also be glimpsed in other Bukowski documentaries, such as Born Into This. But The Charles Bukowski Tapes are set apart by their sheer volume of candid author footage, in which Bukowski has drunkenly abandoned all camera-shyness to reveal, and revel in, his damage. In one chilling segment, Hank and Linda Lee sit on the couch and seriously discuss divorce, leaving the viewer feeling as if they’ve eavesdropped on a therapy session. In another, Hank takes us to his childhood home, to show us the bathroom, nicknamed "The Torture Chamber," where he was repeatedly whipped. The rawness of the tapes is refreshing but painful. This DVD package includes several segments in which Bukowski recites poems, as well as a booklet containing writing by Shroeder, an essay by Bukowski biographer, Neeli Cherkovsky, and a 1987 interview with Hank about the making of Barfly that is, of course, hilariously bitter. The Charles Bukowski Tapes allow for intimacy, making them charmed and disturbing. --Trinie Dalton

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars essential for the Bukowski fan in your life! September 24, 2006
By signman
2006 seems to be the year for Bukowski on dvd and it's about time! between this and BORN INTO THIS, fans of Buk have a reason to rejoice, and pray there's more stuff in the vaults.I won't go into any production details about THE CHARLES BUKOWSKI TAPES because it's all in the product description, but I will say that it's a four-hour tour into the mind and thoughts of CB broken down into 52 short chapters. if you're a non-fan, it probably won't win you over, but anyone curious as to the thought process of this author who arguably changed the face of modern lit and poetry will be sucked in. for those who think this two-disc set is just the ramblings of an old drunk are wrong: CB is very cogent and thoughtful. some might say Bukowski was pathetic, I say PROPHETIC, and his works will stand the test of time. P.S. for optimum viewing, add a few ADULT beverages and get the kids out of the room.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bukowski: the myth behind the man September 3, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I didn't have time to watch the whole DVD, but so far the tapes are exactly what I expected: raw, funny and sometimes, sad.
Bukowski was a character of himself and that role playing was a form to sustain his dignity in the quite hostile environment he was in almost all his life: bad parents, bad jobs, bad women, cheap booze, lack of money. So that's why he tried - and in the tapes this is apparent sometimes - to build a myth of his past, and amused doing that.
But it doen't mean that he is not true or authetic (his bad skin and bad teeth expose everything about his past). It only means that, from time to time, Bukowski looks TOO MUCH Bukowski than one would expect.
Overall, the DVD is a great document about one of the great 20th century american writers and gives to his readers a live and deep insight to some of his thoughts and poems.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Schroeder made an interesting choice in conducting this interview. Very little formal questioning was posed, he in fact very rarely interjects any commentary.

Bukowski seems to be a little disarmed by the format. Sometimes he seems closed off and embarrassed. Sometimes he seems too drunk to make a coherent point. However sometimes the format creates a level of openness and magic happens when Bukowski talks.

Its these moments that one watches the Bukowski tapes for, to me they were quite profound. Bukowski allows you in, past the drunkeness, past the angry shell.

You actually get something out of these tapes, unlike the terrible documentary 'Born Into This'.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Duarte
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Although a bit "Euro" in its presentation (cheesy French piano in between sections), the substance of these two DVDs is solid. Nothing beats an interview with Charles Bukowski. His looks are as honest and peculiar as what comes out of his mouth. But, don't just watch the DVDs... his written poetry is just as captivating. He takes you back to scenes in the 70s and 80s that are long gone now. In his writing though, they are right there... present tense.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Into Charles we go... July 30, 2007
Into Bukowski I went, and unlike any other Bukowski footage, I was able to leer into the person, the man, the human being beyond the author. I was able to see Bukowski in a light where I could call him "Charles" and feel a personable aura this documentary captured unlike most others.

Charles Bukowski is often associated with an eccentrically-driven tough-guy kind of image, and he's tough, yeah, but he's tough in a complex way unbeknownst to most of the public.

In this recording, Charles is "Charles" before he is singularly a world-famous author, "Bukowski," and we are treated to an intimacy otherwise shelved away. Especially take note of the seen where he visits his old childhood home, recounting the abuse his father gave him; it's here that you see his sensitivity and humanity best: "Let's forget it, okay," he says to the journalist, as he recounts his beatings in the old bathroom.

Okay, maybe...but we won't forget you, Charles. Thank you for the gift of your literature.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you've only read him, you must see this ... June 21, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Being an avid reader of Buk's stuff for the past 20 years or so; it occurred to me that I had never seen him on film or for that matter even heard the man speak. After considering the volumes of his verse I had consumed prior to viewing this film I was still not prepared for what I was about to see. Just watch this and you'll feel closer to the writer, closer to yourself and ultimately - closer to truth.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Great Material - HORRIBLE Transfer to DVD April 5, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Now this is old footage. It wasn't filmed in a wide-screen aspect ratio.

But the FOOLS who transferred this footage to DVD simply STRETCHED the video to fit into a wide-screen format.

What a crime!

Everyone's head looks stretched like a big bubble.

Hard to watch and very disrespectful to the source material.

It's more enjoyable to watch on YouTube where it has been posted in the correct aspect ratio.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming, lovable Bukowski
These tapes are hilarious! Insights into bukowski's thinking process and drunkenness. Yes, he is drinking a beer through most of these candid interviews. Read more
Published on October 7, 2011 by amorfortuna2
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Buk!
A must see for all hardcore Bukowski fans! If you are NOT a Buk fan, you can probably skip it.
Published on June 26, 2011 by Joe Gleeson
5.0 out of 5 stars Hank in Person...
Terrific. A face and voice to match the unrivaled writer/poet. I feel closer to the man. Although he is older and less pugnacious there are moments where one can see the edge that... Read more
Published on April 19, 2011 by howlscowl
5.0 out of 5 stars Bukowski Rocks!!!
You can't go wrong with these tapes if you are a Bukowski fan and perhaps even if your not. These are very inresting and entertaining. They arrived in mint condition and on time. Read more
Published on July 31, 2010 by Diana Stewart
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing.
I have been a fan of Hank's now for about 3 years and when I saw this DVD I didn't have the money to buy it but bought it anyway. Read more
Published on July 25, 2010 by bukowskifan1969
2.0 out of 5 stars Charles Bukowski Tapes REVIEW
I bought this DVD 6 months ago. AND I STILL HAVEN'T FINISHED WATCHING IT. Watch grass grow, watch paint dry. But to sit thru this DVD in one sitting... Read more
Published on January 14, 2009 by D. Test
All who fail to view this DVD are doomed to a life of ignorance and a sorrowful lack of wisdom.

John Martin was the most eloquent interviewee. Read more
Published on November 9, 2006 by BUKOWSKI BUM
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