Bukowski made it no secret that he hated movies which might have been cultivated by his growing up in Los Angeles. So when French film maker Barbet Schroeder came along and wanted Bukowski to write a screenplay which he could make into a film, it was no small feat. Buk claims in the mini documentary I Drink, I Gamble and I Write that Schroeder called him up out of the blue and said he'd pay him twenty grand to write Barfly. Regardless if this is true or not, Barfly ended up being the marriage of a few different strains of weird talent.
Even with such Hollywood acting luminaries as Faye Dunaway and Mickey Rourke starring (it was 1987, so Rourke was at his zenith for fame), Schroeder insisted on filming in locations in downtown skid row LA, dive bars of many different stripes and SROs. Often enough, Bukowski came down to the set and was treated as few other writers were in the history of Hollywood (read: Well). Maybe it was the fact that what helped secure the funding was Schroeder going into a production office and threatening to cut off one of his own digits with a power saw. A pure Bukowskian gesture in itself which helped finally get the movie made.
Bukowski had been writing about the drunk, hopeless, poor, dispossessed, hateful, ugly, greedy, and damned in his many short stories, novels, essays and poems for years before this picture. Perhaps because Schroeder was not from here enabled him to make such a brilliant film about an unseen and untold America without it feeling ugly or antisocial. We will never know if it was a little bit of dumb luck or just some good goddamn poetry in motion. But as Henry Chinaski said about dumb luck; it also counts. And this is good enough for me.