"I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.".
-- Rebecca West, 1913.
Have you ever taken the time to listen for the voices of women in society? The film A Question of Silence (1982) is a bold political feminist separatist film that unveils the oppressive essence of gender relationships in society. The filmmaker, Marlene Gorris, displays this passionate theoretical and political subject through a story line that creates spellbinding drama with a little suspense included.
Gorris used three very ordinary Dutch women, a housewife and mother, a secretary and a waitress to illustrate that this oppression cuts across all classes. Even though these three women are strangers to each other, they happen to be in the same boutique at the same time one day when all the pressures of their burdensome lives have fabricated to such an intensity that they take it out on the male shop keeper and beat him to death. During the incident the women do not speak, they bond with one another through looks not words. Personally, I find this scene to be the most powerful because it makes people question the ideology behind it all. The director brilliantly shots the scene so that the audience does not see the murder, but only the faces of the three women as they beat the shopkeeper. This keeps the audience focused more on the motif behind the violent act and not so much on the drama of the act itself. .
The filmmaker makes it a point to show the women being silenced in society. In one of the opening shots, the secretary, a woman, tells her boss, a man, about a great idea she has. He shoots down her idea, but then in the board meeting takes full credit for it. She brings to loudly tap her spoon on her coffee cup to let it be known that she is upset. Once again we see her rebelling against the patriarchal society through actions and not words.