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Henry Chinaski never cared for the American dream, the thought of needing to become 'something' and fit into the system disgusts him. He believes that life is free and yours to live like you see fit, and if that in some cases involves copious amounts of whiskey then so be it. Henry spends his days drinking and listening to the radio, and he spends his nights drinking and fighting against Eddy who he thinks personifies shallowness and shameless self promoting. Sometimes in the middle of this he finds the time to jot down a few lines of poetry or a short story. After fighting Eddy and winning for a change Henry is thrown out of his regular bar where Eddy is a bartender.
For more about Barfly and the Barfly Blu-ray release, see Barfly Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on February 21, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Faye Dunaway, Mickey Rourke, Alice Krige, Jack Nance, J.C. Quinn, Frank Stallone
Director: Barbet Schroeder
» See full cast & crew
Barfly Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, February 21, 2012
Nominated for the prestigious Palme d'Or Award at the Cannes Film Festival, Barbet Schroeder's "Barfly" (1987) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of German distributors Koch Media. The supplemental features on the disc include two theatrical trailers and a collection of posters and lobby cards. In English, with optional German subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
I used to live in an area where we had a bar exactly like the one where Henry, the main protagonist in Barbet Schroeder's Barfly, spends most of his time. I knew one of the bartenders there and a couple of the regulars. I liked going to the bar because it was the only place around that had the right size satellite dish to get Italian TV channels that showed live Italian soccer games each Sunday. The owner closed the bar a couple of years after I left the area. On that same street corner now there is a big and clean Starbucks store. The place does not have a satellite dish and the owner isn't planning to get one. But I am told that by the end of 2012 some Starbucks stores, including this one, will start offering alcohol.
There are two reasons why Henry (Mickey Rourke, Angel Heart, 9 1/2 Weeks) goes to his favorite bar and none of them have anything to do with live Italian soccer games - he likes drinking and fighting with one of the bartenders. He rarely has enough money to pay for his drinks, but another bartender, who happens to like him a lot, is always willing to help.
One day, after he gets beaten up by the bad bartender (Frank Stallone, Death Feud), Henry meets Wanda (Faye Dunaway, Bonnie and Clyde, 3 Days of the Condor), who also has a serious drinking problem. The two drink and talk and then head back to her place. They are too drunk to make love so they just sleep together. On the next morning, Wanda gives Henry a key to her place.
In the days that follow, Henry and Wanda talk about life, get drunk and listen to their neighbors screaming. Eventually, they run out of money, and Wanda decides to get a job. While she is looking, Henry is approached by Tully (Alice Krige, Chariots of Fire), the wealthy editor of a literary magazine. She has already published some of his writings and wants more. After she gives Henry a check for $500, she takes him to her lavish villa on the outskirts of the city.
Henry and Tully also talk about life. Then they talk about writing and money. Tully feels that she has 'discovered' Henry and offers him to stay with her. If he agrees, he won't have to worry about money and could write as much as he wants. Tully will also help him publish his writings. But Henry declines the offer because he does not belong in Tully's world. He belongs on the streets, amongst the bums, drunks, and hookers, the people who inspire him to write.
Based on an original screenplay by legendary Beat generation writer Charles Bukowski, Barbet Schroeder's Barfly was completed in 1987. The film was executive produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, and presented by director Francis Ford Coppola.
The film offers a fascinating look into Bukowski's world, a place devoid of hope and populated by various social misfits. It is an interesting world to observe, especially when the misfits comment on life and its meaning, but ultimately incredibly chaotic and depressing.
The film was shot on authentic locations throughout Los Angeles. Many of the bars, hotels and liquor stores are places that Bukowski also visited. Some of the characters seen in the film are also real misfits who lived on the streets of Los Angeles.
Rourke underwent an impressive transformation before shooting of the film began. He gained a lot of weight, like Robert De Niro did for Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull, and apparently did not wash for weeks. Unsurprisingly, in the film he truly does look like a man who has been a bum for years. Dunaway, who looks twice as old as she was at the time, is also very convincing as his alcoholic lover.
Note: In 1987, Barfly was nominated for the prestigious Palme d'Or Award at the Cannes Film Festival.
Barfly Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Barbet Schroeder's Barfly arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of German distributors Koch Media.
The Blu-ray release represents a major upgrade in quality over the out of print R1 DVD release Warner Brothers issued in 2002. Detail is very pleasing, clarity improved, especially during the bar sequences, and contrast levels stabilized. Color reproduction is also convincing - the soft greens, yellows, and blues look well saturated and remain stable. Healthy grain is present throughout the entire film. Occasionally some extremely light noise creeps in, but it is never distracting or problematic. There are no traces of overzealous sharpening. Lastly, blown through a digital projector the film conveys pleasing depth, tightness around the edges, and fluidity. A few tiny specks occasionally pop up here and there, but are definitely not distracting. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Barfly Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. For the record, Koch Media have provided optional German subtitles for the main feature.
The English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track opens up the film rather well, but its range of nuanced dynamics is fairly modest. The dialog is crisp, stable, and easy to follow. There is no problematic background hiss, clicks, or pops. There are no sync issues or audio dropouts to report in this review either.
Barfly Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Barfly Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Barbet Schroeder's Barfly offers a fascinating look into the unusual world of legendary Beat generation writer Charles Bukowski and his famous protagonist Henry Chinaski. Mickey Rourke is simply superb in this film, which, to be honest, isn't for everyone. The R1 DVD release of Barfly has been out of print for quite some time, which is why this surprisingly good looking German Blu-ray release is so easy to recommend. RECOMMENDED.
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Barfly Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Barfly Blu-ray - October 14, 2011
German distributors Koch Entertainment are set to release on Blu-ray Barbet Schroeder's Barfly (1987), starring Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway. The film, which was made by Cannon Films and Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope Studios, is a semi-autobiography of legendary ...
Barfly Blu-ray Screenshots
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