Only in the seventies could a filmmaker pitch a dream—with the intention to shoot the movie without a finished script—and get it greenlit by a major studio. Such is the genesis of 3 Women, Altman’s most psychologically haunting, offbeat, and visually captivating film. Stepping away from the narrative vastness of his previous Nashville and Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson, Altman presents his 1977 feature with a languid sense of dread and claustrophobia, in which three social outsiders (Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek, and Janice Rule) form an unusual bond around a Palm Springs health spa for the elderly. The film opened in New York in April that year and screened one month later at Cannes, where Duvall won the best actress award. An NYFF15 selection.