A Question of Silence

Brilliant Dutch psycho drama film “A Question of Silence” (1982) directed and written by Marleen Gorris and starring Edda Brandes, Nelly Frijda, Henriette Tol and Cox Habbema.

Three women Christine (Edda Barends), Annie (Nelly Frijda) and Andrea (Henriette Tol) are charged with the murder of a shopkeeper. All three of them never knew each other, not even their names, have never met before, are complete strangers to each other, yet they go on to bludgeon a man to death using hangars and whatever metal tools they can lay their hands on at the shop. It is a vicious crime with no apparent motive.

Dr. Janine Van Den Bos (Cox Habbema) is a criminal psychiatrist assigned to interview the three women and give a report on their state of their mind, before giving the verdict of the court. Of the three one woman Christine is completely silent, whereas Annie is garrulous and Andrea is flippant. All of them say that there was nobody present in the shop when they murdered the man, yet there were some three to women present there.

Over a period of time Janine begins identifying with the three women and gives a report that the women are all sane, which perplexes the judges and the prosecution counsel, because without any apparent motive and being sane why should anybody commit a crime.

The movie goes deeper subtly into the realm of female emancipation from a male patriarchal society. The repression which they have felt in their daily lives has to burst out sometime as a lava. Brilliant screenplay and dialogues coupled with a good direction and acting by all the four women make this a must see movie.

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