17 05 2011

Henry Chinaski passe sa vie au bar. Il boit et se bat. Et quand il rentre chez lui et qu’il n’a pas pu ramener une fille, il écrit nonchalamment. Un jour il rencontre Wanda, une femme à la vie semblable à la sienne. Ensemble, ils vont se mettre à boire encore plus et à s’aimer de temps en temps.


Talent et déchéance, ce n’est pas l’actualité du moment qui nous dira le contraire, les deux agissent comme des ingrédients magiques de la si difficile recette de la fascination absolue (quoique, dans l’actualité présente, le talent est-il vraiment avéré, comme nous le vomissent quotidiennement les médias ?). Pourquoi tout gâcher lorsque l’on a tout ? Hormis ce film et quelques écrits, je ne suis pas familier de Bukowski car à dire vrai les seules images que je connais de lui sont celles de son passage très commenté chez Bernard Pivot. Donc, le voir avec la belle gueule de Mickey Rourke (et oui, c’était à un autre siècle tout ça) ne me choque pas bien au contraire, ça semble rajouter au dramatique du personnage. Il a le talent, il trouve l’amour et son histoire ne ressemble pourtant qu’à un sinistre gâchis. Une mort à petit feu. On ne peut que se dire pourquoi ? et le répéter trois fois de préférence.

La réponse est simple, le public aime les losers magnifiques. Car à dire vrai le film ne raconte pas grand chose d’autre que cette déchéance de tous les instants. Une beuverie en chasse une autre, une baston intervient de temps à autre, et puis il n’y a pas grand chose d’autre. Le personnage de Bukowski/Chinaski suscite la sympathie et on sent bien dans certaines scènes toute la tendresse qui est portée à ces sans-grades. Notamment une des dernières, lorsqu’il retourne au bar et qu’il lui est réservé un accueil  » triomphale » par les clodos et poivrots du rade. L’endroit où il est le plus heureux, c’est là, parmi les siens. Une belle déclaration de sincérité et de fidélité.

Alors certes le portrait est complaisant (c’est amusant d’écrire cela d’un mec en pleine auto-destruction), mais Barbet Schroeder a l’intelligence de ne pas plonger l’histoire dans le pathos. Il y avait matière à en faire un film glauque, il n’en est rien, c’est amusant et finalement empli de tendresse. Le fait que le film se déroule principalement de nuit, dans cette atmosphère intemporelle avec ces personnages volontairement caricaturaux, permet ainsi de s’élever du plombant drame social larmoyant. On se trouve dans un conte et on échappe furtivement à la réalité.

C’est probablement bien moins bon à l’écran qu’à l’écrit mais le film a le mérite d’exister et de s’en sortir avec les honneurs et en prime Rourke et Dunaway sont convaincants.

Valeur en devenir


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