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Tales of Ordinary Madness

Catalog Number
VA 4134
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Storie di ordinaria follia (1983)

Additional Information

Additional Information
Bukowski


Ben Gazzara delivers a gutsy, four-barreled performance as skid-row poet and storyteller Charles Bukowski (rechristened Charles Serking onscreen) in Tales of Ordinary Madness, blackly comic Italian director Marco Ferreri's adaptation of Bukowski's roman à clef Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions and General Tales of Ordinary Madness. Half soused, with a 2 a.m. shadow and street urchin rags, Serking waltzes through the scummiest neighborhoods of the City of Angels, indulging in booze, poetry, and copulation, and lounging in flophouses and on grimy public buses. His bedmates are a midget, a string of seedy whores, and various earthy L.A. denizens, played by Susan Tyrell, Ornella Muti, and others; he eventually falls for a prostitute who can express her affection only via self-mutilation. Ferreri lets Bukowski's ribald humor flow throughout and exposes the dark erotic currents at the heart of the author's narratives. Laced with perverse, shocking imagery, this unbridled celebration of life's dark underbelly has been praised by critics such as The New Yorker's Pauline Kael and Playboy's Bruce Williamson for its "genuine audacity and risktaking


Tales of Ordinary Madness (it: Storie di ordinaria follia) (fr: Contes de la folie ordinaire) is a 1981 film by Italian director Marco Ferreri. It was shot in English in the USA, featuring Ben Gazzara and Ornella Muti in the leading roles. The film's title and subject matter are based on the works and the person of US poet Charles Bukowski, including the short story The Most Beautiful Woman in Town (published by City Lights Publishing in the 1972 collection Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions, and General Tales of Ordinary Madness).
The film's protagonist, Charles Serking, is based on Bukowski's autobiographical character Henry Chinaski. At the time, the director Taylor Hackford owned the rights to the Chinaski name, having acquired them when he optioned Bukowski's 1971 novel Post Office.[1]

While successful in Europe, the film met with a lukewarm reception in the US despite its American setting. Janet Maslin of the New York Times gave the film a negative review.[2]
The best that can be said for Marco Ferreri's Tales of Ordinary Madness is that somewhere inside its unworkable blend of pretension and pornography, there's a serious film about art and sexual abandon struggling to get out. The worst, which can be said with considerably more accuracy, is that Mr. Ferreri's film is strained, absurdly solemn and full of inadvertent howlers.[

Release Date: March 11, 1983


Distrib: Fred Baker Films


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