Factotum pub crawl

Posted on November 16, 2011 by peter bell

The 2005 film Factotum is based on the writings of Charles Bukowski.  Whether you love him or hate him, it’s indisputable that Bukowski has had an impact on American literature.  His gritty realistic writing is like a cocktail of anger, misanthropy, addiction, and occasionally, transcendence.  With lines like “my beerdrunk soul is sadder than all the dead Christmas trees in the world,” Bukowski’s work has continued to inspire or infuriate since his death in 1994.

The film Factotum was shot in St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2004, and was directed and co-written by Norwegian filmmaker Bent Hamer.  Popturf users chewing_the_scenery and crabapple have been good enough to list a number of locations associated with this film.

[*Spoiler alert from here on]

Hank Chinaski (Matt Dillon) spends a lot of time in bars.  If you are interested in doing a Factotum pub crawl, you have quite a few to choose from.  The bar at the beginning of the film, where Chinaski skips out on his ice delivery job to drink is the Depot Bar in the Lowertown neighborhood St. Paul.  When Chinaski meets Jan (Lili Taylor), he is at the Dubliner.  Chinaski and his work buddy Manny (Fisher Stevens) plan to rip off their bike store co-workers by not placing their bets at Cuzzy’s in the warehouse district of Minneapolis.  When Jan runs out on Hank after they have an argument, he finds her at Palmer’s Bar in the West Bank neighborhood of Minneapolis.

After mailing a manuscript, Hank goes into Nye’s Polonaise and meets Laura (Marisa Tomei), which is in NE Mpls.  At a couple points in the movie, Chinaski decides to go to a strip club, one of which is Augie’s in downtown Minneapolis.  This last stop does not fit the chronological structure of the film, but you should probably not have all that much spending money if you decide to go there.

If getting drunk impersonating a fictional character pretending to be a writer is not your cup of tea, there are a number of interesting locations in the film that are not bars.  One of which is the former Fairmont Hotel at 9th and Hennepin in downtown Minneapolis.  This building was one of the last flophouses on Hennepin Ave, and was refurbished right after the shooting of Factotum.  Apparently, Tom Waits also lived here for a time, and it is the subject of the song, “9th and Hennepin.”  In the film, it is the setting for Hank’s and Jan’s apartments, as well as numerous exterior shots.  Today, it is an upscale restaurant and boutique hotel.

Another unique spot from the film the is St. Paul City Hall, where Chinaski has a job for one day dusting an enormous marble statue.  The entire interior of the building is done in a the “Zigzag Moderne” version of Art Deco design with brass and marble throughout.  The statue that Chinaski dusted is a 38 ft., 60-ton white onyx sculpture entitled Vision of Peace, which is worth a visit alone.

While the movie may have not been a blockbuster, it stands as a unique piece of filmmaking.  And the places it reflects are just as accessible as Bukowski’s writing.  Like the man said,


“An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.”- Charles Bukowski

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2 Responses to Factotum pub crawl

  1. Humor News says:

    Very nice very nice stuff you have on ur blog your above excellence

  2. U.R. Movies says:

    Wow Excellent blog!

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