The most trenchant part of the film comes near the end, when Bukowski ruminates about the “utter grimness” of his childhood. He says he was beaten with a razor strop three times a week “from the age of six to the age of eleven.” Bukowski call the violence “good literary training” because it taught him about pain (and also how to type). He explains that when you encountered “pain without reason” it revealed where “certain sections of life were” and that as a result you can go two ways—traumatized and ineffectual or tough and brave: “When you get the shit kicked out of you long enough and long enough and long enough, you tend to say what you mean.”
Bukowski lived in Philadelphia for a while — on Spring Garden Street, I believe — and spent a couple of weeks in Moyamensing Prison, which was just a few blocks from where I live. The prison was demolished years ago. The site is now an Acme supermarket.