Barfly (1987)

Barfly is a 1987 film which is a semi-autobiography of poet/author Charles Bukowski during the time he spent drinking heavily in Los Angeles, California. The screenplay by Bukowski was commissioned by director Barbet Schroeder – it was published, with illustrations by the author, in 1984 when film production was still pending. Barfly starred Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway, was directed by Schroeder and was presented by Francis Ford Coppola. The movie has a silent cameo appearance by Bukowski himself. By the way, most of the extras in the film were actually residents living in the hotel in Culver City which was the actual location (see last picture in Photo Gallery below) In real life from time to time the extras would have drunken fights in the back alley.

BARFLY: Barbet & Buk Laughing ©Sophie Calle

He said he was going to cut off his finger if I didn’t make his film.” -Menahem Golan of Cannon Films, talking about Barbet Schroeder’s famous threat to cut off his finger if he couldn’t make BARFLY. Bukowski has another version of this story in his novel HOLLYWOOD (dedicated to Barbet Schroeder) excerpted below….


According to Schroeder:

“It is 80% true but:
1) It was never my intention to cut more than the end of the left little finger. I just did not have the time to go to a lawyer, that is why I had to chose the firm Black & Decker.
2) My plan was to do eventually do a press conference holding the finger and then go to the hospital to try to have it sewn up again.”

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