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Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Bent Hamer's FACTOTUM, shot in Minnesota by Producer Christine Walker during the summer of 2004 with indie stalwarts Matt Dillon and Lilli Taylor, has been lingering in pre-release. After its mild debut at Cannes in the spring of 2005, Picturehouse acquired FACTOTUM on May 25th and it looked to be slated for a February 2005 release. Picturehouse is a off-shoot of HBO and New Line Cinema and the deal was brokered by Sara Rose. Then came Sundance line up in December.

FACTOTUM has been called "pitiful, sad and vicious" by some who have seen it, yet a comedy filled with brilliant pickled performances by Dillon and Taylor as chaotic alcoholics. If ever there was a genre called "alcoholic literature", Charles Bukowski embodied it fully.

Dillon's performance as Hank, another autobiographical hard boiled sketch of human flesh marinated in booze and cigarettes perhaps surpasses Mickey Rourke's equally biographical Henry Chinaski in BARFLY form 1987 by French director Barbet Schroeder. Hank or Henry is yet another manifestation of Bukowski's alter-ego.

Not a fun night out at the movies, FACTOTUM running time was cut considerably after its Cannes unreeling and its distributor Picturehouse began to act nervously. As they approached the roll-out Picturehouse began asking for a "clean and sober" version of the film that downplayed the alcohol abuse and sex. What? A Bukowski film without drink and womanizing?

At Sundance, the producers announced, "...the deal [with Picturehouse] fell apart due to an unresolved legal matter...", shortly after the announcement of this year’s Sundance Film Festival lineup. FACTOTUM was then picked up at Sundance by IFC Films and is now planning an August 18th release.

Picturehouse is also slated to release another Minnesota producer-connected picture FUR directed by Steven Shainberg and produced by Bill Pohlad.

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