26 user 6 critic

A Question of Silence (1982)

De stilte rond Christine M. (original title)
When three women with no previous acquaintance kill a male shopkeeper in the middle of the day, the female psychiatrist assigned to the case sets out to understand why.


Marleen Gorris


Marleen Gorris
3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Edda Barends Edda Barends ... Huisvrouw
Nelly Frijda Nelly Frijda ... Koffiejuffrouw
Henriëtte Tol Henriëtte Tol ... Secretaresse
Cox Habbema ... Psychiater
Eddie Brugman Eddie Brugman ... Echtgenoot (as Eddy Brugman)
Hans Croiset Hans Croiset ... Rechter
Erik Plooyer Erik Plooyer ... Officier van Justitie
Anna van Beers Anna van Beers
Eric Besseling Eric Besseling
Noa Cohen Noa Cohen
Kees Coolen Kees Coolen ... Inspecteur
Edgar Danz Edgar Danz
Diana Dobbelman Diana Dobbelman ... Vrouw van Psychiater
Miranda Frijda Miranda Frijda
Frederik de Groot


Three women, all strangers to each other, meet in a dress boutique. One of the three is approached by the male proprietor as she is shoplifting a garment. When he approaches her the other two join her in beating the man to death. Other female shoppers ignore the whole situation and leave when the crime is complete. The court appoints a female psychriatrist to examine the women; contrary to public opinion the psychiatrist finds they are not insane but implies the rage expressed by the crime is a result of the male dominated society. An interesting study of extreme behavior. The prisoner's cells were a revelation. Written by Rosemarie Friedman <ezra@postoffice.ptd.net>

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R | See all certifications »

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Did You Know?


Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »


Featured in Allemaal film: Tussen kunst en kassa (2007) See more »

User Reviews

Totemic Feminist Film
20 April 2006 | by Jo_UKSee all my reviews

This film captivated me when I first viewed it 10 years ago and continues to do so. It captured the sense of living in a hostile world, evident to any feminist or woman who has suffered at the hands of patriarchy, the system, 'the man' or possibly even the US 'just us' system.

It makes obvious the masculinist basis of language and the inability of some women to describe their experience of oppression within social systems that utilize languages designed and created to express the dominant position.

This film is powerful, and in my experience, confuses only those that have no empathy with the experiences of any of the main characters; namely men.

Comments like those of Brian-343 quoted below miss the moral statement of the film, that patriarchal systems of dominance are SO destructive to some that it literally drives them to insanity (backed up by medical evidence of rates of mental illness in women only being equalled by those of men in times of extreme stress and distress: wartime).

'Did it seem like they answered the question why they did it? I didn't think so. I was left with a weak canned answer. It was just "they were oppressed by the patriarchal society, so they have a reason to kill." What? Do you kill a person based on your whim just because that person is a part of a group of people who "generally" oppresses you? I think the filmmaker failed to make her big moral statement - you don't excuse a criminal instantly because they were supposedly oppressed.'

The film doesn't excuse the murder. It demonstrates the reasons for it. The female protagonists do not escape punishment although Gorris does posit incarceration as preferable to their previous existences; marriage or servitude.

It is a crying shame that this film has not been transcribed onto DVD.

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Dutch | English

Release Date:

18 February 1982 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

A Question of Silence See more »


Box Office


NLG300,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Sigma Film Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

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