Tales of Ordinary Madness

Ferreri found a mirror for his biting dark humor in the hardbitten writings and life of Charles Bukowski: Tales of Ordinary Madness is based on Bukowski's Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions and General Tales of Ordinary Madness and set in the L.A. skids Bukowski called home (when he wasn't reading at colleges and fighting off attempts to canonize him). Ben Gazzara plays the grizzled poet/novelist, Charles Serking, modeled after C.B., saturated in drink and seeking after sleazy sex and some kind of salvation. What grace there is, is in the gutter, and there he finds another lost angel, Cass (Ornella Muti), a Catholic girl who punishes herself in prostitution and self-mutilation. A Chandleresque narration keeps a self-mocking edge to Serking's search for truth and beauty. "There's a genuine audacity and risk-taking in this movie°its nakedness has an aesthetic force. Not for people disturbed by four-letter words or sexual acts performed with lewd gusto. That should still leave quite a few of us." (Pauline Kael) Repeated Sunday, January 12.

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