Factotum (film)

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Factotum
Factotum 2005 poster.png
Directed by Bent Hamer
Produced by Bent Hamer
Jim Stark
Screenplay by Bent Hamer
Jim Stark
Based on Factotum (1975) 
by Charles Bukowski
Starring Matt Dillon
Lili Taylor
Marisa Tomei
Music by Kristin Asbjørnsen
Cinematography John Chritsian Rosenlund
Edited by Pal Gengenbach
Distributed by IFC Films (US)
Icon Entertainment International (UK)
Release date(s)
  • April 12, 2005 (2005-04-12) (Trondheim Kosmorama Int. Film Festival (Norway))
Running time 94 minutes
Country Norway, France, USA
Language English

Factotum is a 2005 film directed by Bent Hamer, adapted from the novel of the same name by Charles Bukowski. The script also makes use of Bukowski's poems published in What Matters Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire and The Days Run Aways Like Horses Over the Hill as well as some of Bukowski's notebook entries published in The Captain Is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship.[1] For example, Matt Dillon reads the poem "Roll The Dice" (from the book What Matters Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire) in a voiceover at the end of the film.

The film is principally a French-Norwegian co-production, although with an American cast. It was released in Norway in 2005 and distributed in the U.S. by IFC Films in 2006. It was released on DVD in the U.S. on 26 December 2006.

Plot[edit]

Bukowski's picaresque novel, also titled Factotum, was published in 1975. The book and the film both center on the character of Henry Chinaski, Bukowski’s alter ego, who appears in much of his fiction. Although events in the book take place in Los Angeles in the 1940s, the setting of the film is contemporary.

Henry 'Hank' Chinaski (Matt Dillon) is working toward becoming a writer while struggling with alcoholism and holding various menial jobs. The film follows Chinaski as he works at, and gets fired from, various jobs, which include cleaning a massive art sculpture, delivering ice, working at a pickle factory, and working at a bicycle shop. In the course of sampling the smorgasbord of short-lived occupations, he meets up with assorted eccentric, frequently alcoholic characters.

The first woman Chinaski meets in a bar becomes his most consistent companion throughout the film. Jan (Lili Taylor), like Chinaski, is an alcoholic. She moves in and becomes his lover and drinking partner. They co-exist comfortably in languid squalor until Chinaski becomes upset after an altercation where he beats a wealthy man at the racing track who refuses to give up his seat. Initially polite Chinaski assaults the man after Jan challenges his behavior. Soon after, Chinaski leaves Jan.

Unemployed again and trying to score his next drink, Hank meets another female barfly, Laura (Marisa Tomei), who feels sorry for Chinaski and helps him procure alcohol with the help of her wealthy "sugar daddy" Pierre, an eccentric older man. After a strange misadventure on Pierre's boat, Chinaski briefly returns to Jan, who is now working as a maid at a hotel. A pivotal scene occurs with Jan after Chinaski discovers that he has caught a case of the "crabs" from her. Chinaski gains work but quickly loses his job after deciding to drink instead of completing cleaning a large statue.

Chinaski and Jan again break up after realizing their relationship has become boring and predictable and that they no longer really need each other. Jan moves in with a wealthy man who appears to be the person assaulted before by Chinaski.

By the film's end, however, Chinaski finds that he is most comfortable being alone with just his alcohol and his writing to keep him company.

Cast[edit]

Awards[edit]

  • Nominee Best Director - Norwegian Academy Awards (Bent Hamer)
  • Winner Best Director - Copenhagen International Film Festival (Bent Hamer)
  • Winner Best Actress - Copenhagen International Film Festival (Lili Taylor)
  • Winner Best Supporting Actress - San Diego Film Critics Society (Lili Taylor)
  • Nominee Golden Spike - Valladolid International Film Festival (Bent Hamer)

References[edit]

  1. ^ See "Opening Credits" of film, Factotum.

External links[edit]