Director: Bent Hamer
Screenwriters: Charles Bukowski, Bent Hamer, Jim Stark

Institute History

  • 2006 Sundance Film Festival


Based on Charles Bukowski's second novel and incorporating elements from his short stories, Factotum (which means "man of many jobs") focuses on Bukowski's alter ego, Henry Chinaski. Henry is a slob of a man who is fired from one undemanding job after another because of his inability to focus on anything but boozing, gambling, and sex with women as libidinous as he is. He occasionally works on becoming a writer, forever sending short stories to publishers, and equally often receiving rejection notes. Along the way, he falls in with fellow lost soul Jan, and they embark on a tempestuous relationship fueled by sex and alcohol.

Bukowski has been adapted to the screen many times, but seldom has it been done with such booze-soaked authenticity. The story unfolds at a leisurely pace as a series of incidents and anecdotes that are at times amusing, and at others gut wrenching. Writer/director Bent Hamer displays an unusually pleasing faithfulness to the peculiar spirit of Bukowski's writing and worldview, and Matt Dillon gives one of his best performances as Chinaski; his deadpan delivery and raw physicality pump life into the gnarled character. Thanks to Hamer's offbeat direction, a thoughtful script, and superb performances, Factotum has a scruffy, lowlife charm that gets under your skin and works its magic—much like Chinaski himself.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]