Crazy Love (1987)

“It’s so sad, everything is so sad—that we live our lives like idiots and then finally die.” Also known as Love is a Dog from Hell, this bizarre foreign entry was directed by Belgian Dominique Deruddere (Wait Until Spring, Bandini) and based on three of Charles Bukowski’s short stories, including “The Copulating Mermaid of Venice, Calif” (which features the above quote by the way). A 12-year-old loner with one of the worst cases of acne to grace the silver screen devolves into a pathetic barfly and necrophiliac. As you can probably imagine, this flick is definitely not for all tastes. The film stars Josse De Pauw, Michael Pas, Amid Chakir, Geet Hunaerts, Gene Bervoets and Florence Beliard. Bukowski reportedly considered it to be the best film adaptation of his work. For anyone interested in reading Bukowski, I suggest starting with his fourth novel, Ham on Rye (1982), which graphically details his miserable childhood courtesy of his father, a sadistic tyrant who regularly beat him over the slightest infractions. To make matters worse, Bukowski suffered from a rare skin disorder, diagnosed as acne vulgaris, once he reached his teens. His only refuge was the local public library, where he voraciously devoured the writings of “The Lost Generation” school of American novelists such as Ernest Hemingway (whose later works he despised), Sherwood Anderson and John Dos Passos, as well as the works of European writers, including Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground, Knut Hamsun’s Hunger and Louis-Ferdinand Celine’s Journey to the End of the Night. At one point Bukowski candidly states “I wasn’t a misanthrope and I wasn’t a misogynist but I liked being alone. It felt good to sit alone in s a small space and smoke and drink. I had always been good company for myself.” Deruddere’s 2000 film Everybody’s Famous was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film but lost out to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

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