Charles Bukowski's Barfly :: Hank's Life in a Movie

In 1987, a director named Barbet Schroeder finally convinced Charles Bukowski to write a screenplay for a feature length film. The film was called, "Barfly" and was essentially a snapshot into the life of Buk's alter ego, young Henry Chinaski. Chinaski, was played by Mickey Rourke and his love interest, Jane was played by Faye Dunaway.

Jane Cooney Baker was Bukowski's first real lover. They had a tumultuous relationship that spanned about ten years. The relationship was doomed from the start. Jane drank heavily in an attempt to drown personal demons from a previous marriage that ended in tragedy. She surfaced throughout Bukowski's prose and poetry quite often. Perhaps this was the only way he could cope with her eventual death from alcohol abuse.

In the film, Bukowski painted humor and tenderness in equal strokes. Jane and Henry often are involved in hilarious escapades, Bukowski writing about himself through his alter ego, Henry Chinaski. One scene in particular alluded to a real life story involving stolen ears of corn from a field next to their apartment. Chinaski also had a passion for fighting. His nemisis in the movie was a bartender who loathed him. Needless to say, they fought often.