Quintet (1979)

Quintet (1979), produced and directed by Robert Altman.

In an arctic wasteland of the future, Paul Newman returns to a dying city. After his wife and brother are killed, it takes him about forever to discover that the decadent denizens are playing a murder tournament game.

True story: I saw this in the theater and it ruined movies for me for years. I always dreaded that I would see something like it again. I remember dogs devouring corpses just lying in the open, and men jumping out of the darkness to slash throats. I thought: "Is this what I have to look forward to in avant garde experimental filmmaking by the foremost artists?"

I must have been extra sensitive that day because now it seems more inexplicably tedious than disgusting. Not a big Altman fan. And yet it has stuck with me and I had to see it again.

They put a ring of vaseline around the lens, giving the image a wide translucent border. I thought this might be to suggest ice, but in the making-of it is said to connote "mystery". More than anything else it looks like photos from 1970s soft porn magazines.