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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 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

The entire movie was shot with the edges of the lens thickly smeared with a transparent substance. (This is a common technique for creating a hazy or soft-focus effect, but it is usually used very subtly.) The result is that every scene is in focus only in a circular area in the middle of the screen; the edges, all around, are clouded and translucent. The effect is as if looking through a window with the edges iced over - in keeping with the set of the movie, in which every square inch, indoors and out, is coated with ice and snow. See more »

Quotes

Grigor: ...and talk about life.
Essex: The only thing I've seen is death, or the prospect of it.
Grigor: But that's what makes life worthwhile; every time you cheat death, you feel the pure thrill of life
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

Featured in Developing the World of 'Quintet' (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A hidden gem
25 December 1999 | by SammyKSee all my reviews

It's a shame that I'd held off so long before finally watching this film - on TV at midnight, no doubt. Many have criticized and disowned this film, citing it as a low point for Robert Altman and nothing more, but this is an unfair judgement. While it may not deliver to fans of "Nashville" and "M.A.S.H.," "Quintet" is a provocative and eerily unsettling bit of cinematic science fiction. Its depiction of a post-apocalyptic ice age is frighteningly vivid, and its nihilistic theme is perhaps one of the reasons many find it off-putting. However, if you're looking for a diamond in the rough, "Quintet" could quite possibly be the movie you're looking for. Altman may not be in top form here, but he certainly creates a vision worth noticing.

* A point of note - "Quintet" was filmed at the old Expo '67 site in Montréal, Québec, adding to the film's vision of decay and abandonment.


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