Returning to Los Angeles by bus after his wallet was stolen after having passed out following a performance, poet Charles Serking(Ben Gazzara) finds his ex-wife and landlord Vicky(Tanya Lopert) wanting the last two months' rent. That does not stop him from chasing after Vera(Susan Tyrrell) which later causes him to spend a night in jail, although not for the reason you are thinking. And then there is Cass(Ornella Muti) who he meets in a bar where she does something very painful looking with an oversized safety pin.
Mind the generalizing, but it seems like whenever a European film director comes to the United States for the first time, he skips Disneyland and heads straight for skid row.(See, people take the bus in Los Angeles. And hey! Is that a Fotomat?) I'm not complaining, mind you, as I actually think it's cool since apparently we are too obsessed in this country with upward mobility to care much about those who have fallen through the cracks. This might also explain why only European directors have adapted the works of Charles Bukowski. This one is from "Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions, and Other Tales of Ordinary Madness." And Marco Ferreri has nailed it with the help of a searing performance from Ben Gazzara, informing the life of an addict with levels of profound masochism. Only such pain could create Serking's powerful art but long can it truly last?