3 Women  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

3 Women is a 1977 film directed by Robert Altman, starring Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek, and Janice Rule. The story came directly from a dream Altman had, which he did not fully understand himself, but nonetheless adapted into a treatment, intending to film without a script. 20th Century Fox greenlit the project on Altman's reputation, but a script was completed before filming, although, as with most Altman films, the script was just a "blueprint" for what would be said and seen on-screen.

The minimal plot involves two women whose personalities are in sharp contrast when they first meet and move in together. The third woman of the titular three, is a key supporting character -- a mural artist who lives at the same apartment building. The events take place in a small desert community typical of those found east of Los Angeles. For obvious reasons the film has a dream-like quality, focusing more on behavior, mood and mystery than on plot devices.

What the film is about exactly is open to interpretation, and even Altman has said he is not sure what the ending means but has a "theory" about what happens. What is apparent is that the two principal characters undergo a transformation in which they exchange their relative status to each other. In this way, 3 Women has a kinship with Bergman's Persona.

Duvall plays a woman who is very confident of her personal charisma and attractiveness to men in particular, despite obvious evidence to the contrary. Spacek is a naive, childlike woman, with a somewhat mysterious past, who initially looks up to Duvall. They both work at a physical therapy facility and much of the film takes place at their apartment building, where the third woman creates striking and somewhat unsettling murals.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "3 Women" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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