Factotum (film)

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Factotum is a 2005 film about Hank Chinaski, the fictional alter-ego of "Factotum" author Charles Bukowski, who wanders around Los Angeles, CA trying to live off jobs which don't interfere with his primary interest, which is writing. Along the way, he fends off the distractions offered by women, drinking and gambling.

Directed by Bent Hamer. Written by Bent Hamer and Jim Stark, based on the novel of the same name by Charles Bukowski.

Henry Chinaski[edit]

  • [voiceover] As we live we all get caught and torn by various traps. Writing can trap you. Some writers tend to write what has pleased their readers in the past. They hear accolades and believe them. There's only one final judge of writing, and that is the Writer. When he is swayed by the critics, the editors, the publishers, the readers; then he is finished. And, of course, when he is swayed with his fame and his fortune, you can float him down the river with the turds.
  • [voiceover] Jan was an excellent fuck. She had a tight pussy. And she took it like it was a knife that was killing her.
  • [voiceover] Amazing how grimly we hold on to our misery, the energy we burn fueling our anger. Amazing how one moment, we can be snarling like a beast, then a few moments later, forgetting what or why. Not hours of this, or days, or months, or years of this...but decades. Lifetimes completely used up, given over to the pettiest rancor and hatred. Finally, there is nothing here for death to take away.
  • [voiceover] Even at my lowest times, I can feel the words bubbling inside of me. And I had to get the words down or be overcome by something worse than death. Words not as precious things but as necessary things. Yet when I begin to doubt my ability to work the word I simply read another writer and then I know that I have nothing to worry about. My contest is only with myself: to do it right, with power and force and delight and gamble.
  • [voiceover] I decided to clean up the apartment. I thought I must be turning into a fag.
  • All I want to do is get my check and get drunk.
  • [voiceover] The racetrack crowd is the world brought down to size, life grinding against death and losing. Nobody wins finally, we are just seeking a reprieve, a moment out of the glare.
  • [voiceover] I understood too well that great lovers were always men of leisure. I fucked better as a bum than as a puncher of timeclocks.
  • [voiceover] That scene in the office stayed with me. Those cigars, the fine clothes. I thought of good steaks, long rides up winding driveways that led to beautiful homes. Ease. Trips to Europe. Fine women.
  • [voiceover] I bought some expensive clothes and a good pair of shoes. The owner of the bike supply house didn't look so powerful anymore. Manny and I took a little longer with our lunches and came back smoking good cigars. The new life didn't sit well with Jan. She was used to her four fucks a day and also used to see me poor and humble.
  • [voiceover] A poem is a city filled with streets and sewers. Filled with saints, heros, beggars, madmen. Filled with banality and booze. Filled with rain and thunder and periods of drought. A poem is a city of war. It's a barbershop filled with cynical drunks. A poem is a city. A poem is a nation. A poem is the world.
  • [voiceover] If you are going to try, go all the way. Otherwise don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs. And Maybe your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery, isolation. Isolation is the gift. All others are a test of your endurance. Of how much you really want to do it. And you'll do it, despite rejection in the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods. And the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is.


  • Bar Patron: Kid, I've probably slept longer than you've lived.


Pickle Factory Boss: Writer, huh? Are you sure?
Chinaski: No, I'm not. I'm halfway through a novel.
Pickle Factory Boss: What's it about?
Chinaski: Everything.
Pickle Factory Boss: It's about... cancer?
Chinaski: Yes.
Pickle Factory Boss: How about my wife?
Chinaski: She's in there too.

Chinaski: I lost a woman.
Old Black Man: Yeah, well, you'll have others. You'll lose them, too.

Payroll Lady: I'm sorry, sir.
Chinaski: You're not sorry. You don't know what sorrow is. I do.

Laura: Hey, you're not some kind of maniac, are you? The guy's been picking up girls, cuts crossword puzzles in their bodies with a pen knife...
Chinaski: How? I write. I'm not him.
Laura: Then there are guys who fuck you and chop you into little pieces. You find your ass in a drain pipe in the ocean or a trash can downtown.
Chinaski: I stopped doing that years ago.


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