Henry Chinaski (Dillon) considers himself as a writer, and
on occasion writes. Mostly he quests for booze and women that
sidetrack and seduce, rather than inspire greatness. When
he falls for Jan (Taylor), the soulful connection fails to
save either from their self-destructive ways, and the relationship
totters between earnest connection and reflective loathing.
With the exceptional performances that capture the intoxicated
journey through life and art, Factotum is the story of a man
living on the edge; a writer who risks everything, tries anything,
and finds poetry in life's pleasure and pain.
on which side of sanity you are on, Factotum can turn you
away from alcohol for some time, or it will cause you to quit
your job and head for the nearest bar. A factotum is an old
Latin term for a person with many activities and responsibilities.
In modern society, it means a slacker and an odd-jobs person.
Factotum the story was written in 1975 by the late Charles
Bukowski, an American author who looked like Jack Nicholson
and wrote like Sugar Ray Leonard. Bukowski, you see, was one
alcoholic gritty barfly stumbling around LA while writing
stories and poems. He uses the semi-biographical character,
Henry Chinaski, as a character to describe the hang-overs,
whores and horse-racing that Bukowski went through himself.
is admired for his honest and painful portrayal of the hung-over
life, and this movie is an attempt to translate that language
from book to film. Factotum combines story elements from Factotum
the movie as well as some of Bukowski’s other writings
with chic names like “The days run away like wild horses
over the hills”, “What matters most is how you
walk through the fire” and “The Captain is out
to lunch and the sailors have taken over the ship”.
Yes, some fans find Bukowski’s stark prose dead-pan
is not much of a plot in Factotum. It is about Henry Chinaski
(Matt Dillon) going on about life with the dogged determination
to write, even if it means starving or sleeping on park benches.
He meets and goes through a tumultuous relationship with Jan
(Lili Taylor), and occasionally side-tracked to women like
Laura (Marisa Tomei). For a man with so many jobs, Chinaksi
goes through life in the familiar cycle of moving in with
lonely woman in the bars, falling out of love with them, getting
sacked on the job, and all the time sending his scribbles
to John Martin at Black Sparrow Press.
was said about how well Matt Dillon played the part of Chinaski.
Mr Dillon shambled through the show with a good-sized paunch,
a wasted look in the eyes while speaking in a drawling voice.
Well, he just about managed to make us empathize with the
sorry character that is Chinaski. However, it was Lili Taylor’s
Jan that won a best actress award at the Copenhagen International
is at times perplexing (why doesn’t the man get a proper
job? Why doesn’t he be nicer to his women?), at times
funny (though not in the laugh-out loud manner), but it is
always heavy going. It delivers a message of hope, but only
in times of utter desperation.
The visuals in this film are composed in flat and unflattering
light, adding realism to a very raw movie. Kristin Asbjornsen's
Bjork-like score also managed to enliven some of the more
draggy portions of the show while bringing out the melancholy
and hurt in the main characters. This film is offered in English
Dolby Digital 2.0 or 5.1.
Another proof that festival films no need special features,
they have funky websites such as http://www.factotummovie.com
DVD RATING :
by Lim Mun Pong