A Question of Silence (De stilte rond Christine M.)
Director: Marlene Gorris, 1982.
Netherlands, 92 minutes.
Dutch with English subtitles.
A Question of Silence can best be summarized as a feminist work.Three women, (a secretary, a waitress, and a housewife) with no relation or acquaintance between them, find themselves in the same boutique one fateful morning. Noticing one of the women shoplifting, the male shopkeeper confronts her. Standing her ground, the three women seem to share a sudden, knowing glance, and in a few fell swoops, murder the shopkeeper. Another woman, a psychiatrist, must evaluate the murderers now in custody to determine if they are fit for trial, or criminally insane as none seem to acknowledge any remorse or wrongdoing in the act of killing.
Based on a dramatized version of a true crime, A Question of Silence explores the justification of casual violence as retaliation for an equally casual lifetime of oppression and invalidation. Its disruption of the status-quo begs the question of which gender may enact casual violence and still be labeled a praiseworthy anti-hero and which should remain a subdued foil.