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The Independent Critic

Zack Bateman, Amanda Vanderziel, Todd Scheifele, Faye Storms, Amy Rosen, Lissa Harris
Patrick Biesemans

 "Nirvana" a Short Film Capturing the Soul of Bukowski 
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There are very few writers who could capture a moment like Charles Bukowski. "Hank," as he was known by some, could capture the little joys, the little sorrows and the tiniest of mundane moments like no other writer. There are days, some when I'm happy and some when I'm sad, when I find myself curled up in my bed reading through "Love is a Dog From Hell" or any of his other poetry collections and get myself lost inside a world that may not be my own but it damn sure feels like it.

God, I miss Bukowski.

Director Patrick Biesemans goes for the soul of Bukowski with his new short film Nirvana, a film based upon a Bukowski poem that captures one of life's moments that leaves you breathless and wondering and remembering and, perhaps, even grieving. In the film, a young man (Zack Bateman) is traveling to some unknown destination while questioning his place in the world. He's not necessarily distraught or suicidal or without direction. He's merely wandering to some place in search of some thing or some person or some purpose. When the bus he's riding takes a dinner break amidst the backdrop of snow-covered mountains, this young man finds something in the dinner.

Or maybe someone.

Or maybe it's inside of himself.

Who really knows?

It stirs something inside him and he contemplates whether or not this is the place that he is meant to be.

Haven't you ever pondered that question?

I know I have.

Nirvana does a terrific job of capturing just such a moment through the lens of time and space and stillness. It seems like whenever filmmakers do something, or anything, related to Bukowski they can't help but capture the poet's grittier side. It's understandable. He rather advertised himself as a bit of a drunk and a street urchin of sorts, but for those truly devoted to the artistic soul of Bukowski it's always evident that there's more, much more, in the words that Bukowski lays down.

He speaks to me like no other poet ever has, at times reducing me to tears or giggles or hours upon hours of soul searching and self-examination.

Nirvana captures the contemplative soulfulness of Bukowski, embodying his written words with imagery beautifully brought to life by D.P. Michael Ormiston and original music from Aled Roberts that gives the film an almost unnerving peacefulness that feels like the nirvana one experiences whilst surrounded by nature with a swig of whiskey in one hand and the love of a good woman in the other.

For more information on Nirvana, check out the Lights Down Low website linked to in the credits.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic