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Quintet (1979)

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During a future ice age, dying humanity occupies its remaining time by playing a board game called "Quintet." For one small group, this obsession is not enough; they play the game with living pieces ... and only the winner survives.

Director:

Robert Altman

Writers:

Frank Barhydt (screenplay by), Robert Altman (screenplay by) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Paul Newman ... Essex
Vittorio Gassman ... St. Christopher
Fernando Rey ... Grigor
Bibi Andersson ... Ambrosia
Brigitte Fossey ... Vivia
Nina van Pallandt ... Deuca (as Nina Van Pallandt)
David Langton ... Goldstar
Thomas Hill ... Francha (as Tom Hill)
Monique Mercure ... Redstone's Mate
Craig Richard Nelson ... Redstone
Maruska Stankova Maruska Stankova ... Jaspera
Anne Gerety Anne Gerety ... Aeon
Michel Maillot ... Obelus
Max Fleck Max Fleck ... Wood Supplier
Françoise Berd ... Charity House Woman (as Francoise Berd)
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Storyline

In the distant future the world is in the grip of another ice age. A city originally built to house five million people is now in its death throes as the relentlessly advancing glacier is slowly crushing the metropolis's steel infrastructure. The relatively few surviving fur-clad inhabitants, perhaps thousands, perhaps only hundreds, drift aimlessly in their grim, drab world, awaiting their inevitable fate as they try to survive from day to day with scavenged firewood and minimal diet. Their only solaces are booza, an alcoholic drink distilled from moss, and Quintet, a seemingly innocuous board game for six players. The only other surviving mammals are roving packs of hungry mastiffs which roam the city's corridors and quickly dispose of the remains of the dead. Newly arrived from the south is Essex with his pregnant wife Vivia, seeking shelter in the doomed city only to find it populated by people middle-aged or older. They had supported themselves by hunting seals, but now that the ... Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One man against the world.

Genres:

Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

29 April 1979 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Quinteto See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lion's Gate Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some movie posters for the film formed a dagger out of the letter "t" in the film's one-word "Quintet" title-logo. See more »

Quotes

Essex: Tell me, is Saint Christopher as good a player as they say he is?
Grigor: He is good, but too serious
Essex: and not very talkative.
Grigor: Talk? Oh, if it is talk you want, come with me Redstone
[Essex is passing as Redstone]
Grigor: ; I know a place. We can have drinks, and talk...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Instead of fading to black before the film begins, the silent 20th Century Fox logo instead *dissolves* into the opening scene, that of a frozen wasteland in a heavy blizzard. See more »

Connections

Referenced in La Ragazza, il Dito & Alino (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A flawed masterpiece
10 December 2005 | by raidavies-1See all my reviews

I am one of those who was haunted by this film on first viewing and watched it for a second time soon afterward and understood - and appreciated - it far more as a result. It's often disingenuous to say that a film which so clearly divided opinion has to have something going for it but, in the case of Quintet, that is pleasingly true. By trawling the other comments about Quintet on the website, you can see that some people have a visceral dislike for the slow pace and unfolding of the film and a discontent with the actions and reactions of characters within it. Others point out that this is precisely the point of the film - it is profoundly nihilistic and demonstrates the breakdown of modern social conventions when a culture is forced to make a dramatic change to itself. Also, Quintet should be taken in the context of Marshall Mcluhan's comment: "the medium is the message". I wish I could claim this next comment as my own, because it's very perceptive, but it came from my then girlfriend: "This must have been what it was like for people in the last ice age, when just surviving was the priority and anything, even killing people, was a welcome break from the tedium". You see, Quintet isn't actually about how a society evolves to meet the challenges of environmental change; it's about how a society devolves to minimise the effect of environmental changes. Having watched this film again just last night, I agree even more with Altman's vision of where the human race is likely to go - I think he is remarkably prescient. Like 'Three Days of the Condor', this is a film that has, with the passing of time, become remarkably relevant to the world in which we live today.


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