Norwegian director of Kitchen Stories gives a lovely doleful glow to beat poet Charles Bukowski’s autobiographical account of his early life as a low-life slob. Starring Matt Dillon.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
Director Bent Hamer (Kitchen Stories) and longtime Jarmusch collaborator, writer Jim Stark give a lovely, doleful glow to beat poet Charles Bukowski’s autobiographical account of his early life in dead-end jobs, blowsy bars and two-bit hotel bedrooms. “I became a fan of Charles Bukowski’s writing when I was around 15, and I’ve never outgrown my affection for his bracing, soulful tales and poems of sex, boozing and working crummy jobs. The movie adaptations of his work – including Barfly and Tales of Ordinary Madness – have never quite satisfied me: too overwrought, too sentimental, too self-conscious. But now a Norwegian director named Bent Hamer… has gotten Bukowski right with Factotum… Matt Dillon, who seems to be getting better with every film, plays Bukowski’s alter ego Henry Chinaski, rambling from job to job and woman to woman, writing his stories out longhand and consuming impressive quantities of liquor and tobacco. Lili Taylor and Marisa Tomei, both excellent, are the hard-luck women who share Henry’s life for a spell. Hamer constructs short, visually precise and acutely witty scenes, composing the film in a visual deadpan that perfectly matches Bukowski’s clean, graceful prose. He may not have been a great writer, but he remains a beloved one, and those who love him will surely appreciate this movie.” — A.O. Scott, NY Times
“The first half of the film is near-perfection with its dry humour, unsentimental generosity and fidelity to the spirit of Bukowski’s writing and world view… a marvellously funny, tender, perceptive movie. And, appropriately, it’s blessed with a real love of language.” — Geoff Andrew, Time Out