Synopsis by Nathan Southern
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."
alcoholism, gigolo, life-changes, poet, promiscuity, sex