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A Question Of Silence (Cult Epics) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • A Question Of Silence (Cult Epics) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Cult Epics
    Released on: June 13th, 2023.
    Director: Marleen Gorris
    Cast: Cox Habbema, Nelly Frijda
    Year: 1982
    Purchase From Amazon

    A Question Of Silence – Movie Review:

    Written and directed by Marleen Gorris (who won an Oscar for Antonio's Line) and released in 1982, A Question Of Silence revolves around the story of three women - a timid housewife (Edda Barends), a very outgoing café owner (Nelly Frijda) and a secretary (Henriëtte Tol) – who are arrested in Amsterdam, accused of killing the male shopkeeper of a clothing store. The women, however, don’t know one another.

    A female psychiatrist (Cox Habbema) is tasked with working with the three suspects to try and figure out what happened and why these three seemingly perfectly normal women were driven to kill in the first place. The men who arrested the women aren’t especially sympathetic to the accused, but the psychiatrist approaches her three subjects in a more sensitive manner. As the doctor goes about her business, she not only interviews the three women but also their friends and family members, all in an effort to find out if this was a premeditated case of murder or if there was something else at play here, eventually leading up to a trial to determine their fate.

    A Question Of Silence is interesting not because it asks us to try and figure out ‘whodunnit’ but because it asks us to invest our time and interest in following along with the psychiatrist to try and figure out why the crime was committed in the first place. We see things play out via flashbacks in the different sessions with the doctor and her charges and these prove to be quite effective, particularly the scene in which we ‘see’ the murder take place. Gorris’ direction is strong across the board but the scenes shot in the clothing store with the shopkeeper and the three women are particularly well done and surprisingly tense considering that neither one of the accused women on her own really appears to be threatening at all.

    The performances are excellent. All three of the women that play the accused give their characters interesting and unique personalities and those personalities react to their respective predicaments in decidedly different ways: Barends’ character withdraws, Frijda’s character seems emboldened by it and Tol is somewhere in the middle of it. They all do fantastic work in the picture, with Habbema every bit their equal as the lynchpin that holds the narrative together. The writing is very clever, dropping hints as to what really happened while the story plays out but requiring us to pay attention to figure this all out. Those who do, will be rewarded with an interesting and unique thriller that not only boasts strong performances but solid production values (the cinematography is interesting and the synth score works really well) and strong direction as well.

    A Question Of Silence – Blu-ray Review:

    Taken from a brand new 2k transfer and restoration of an original 35mm print and presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition on a 50GB disc framed at 1.66.1 widescreen, A Question Of Silence looks really nice on region free Blu-ray from Cult Epics, though it’s obviously sourced from a print rather than a negative as there is some visible damage noticeable throughout, though it is quite minor for the most part. Colors are reproduced nicely and black levels are solid. Detail is strong throughout and the picture always looks nice and filmic – the image is naturally grainy and that is definitely retained here. There are no issues with any obvious edge enhancement or noise reduction and overall Cult Epics has done a really nice job here.

    Audio options are offered in 16-bit LPCM 2.0 and 16-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono in Dutch. Optional subtitles are included in English only. Both of the lossless Dutch language options sound quite nice, giving the score some appreciable depth. Levels are balanced and the tracks are clean.

    Extras kick off with an audio commentary by film scholar Patricia Pisters from the University Of Amsterdam. She speaks about the details of the opening sequence and how it introduces us to the four main characters by exploring their social classes, the feminist leanings of the movie, how the psychiatrist's story ties into the narrative, the documentary qualities of the way that the movie was shot, period detail on display, the movie's depictions of patriarchal tropes, details on Marleen Gorris's life and career, biographical details of some of the cast and crew members, how the film was received and reviewed at home and abroad and the different themes that the movie explores.

    There are also some archival interviews here, all from 1982, starting with an interview with director Marleen Gorris that runs eleven minutes. She speaks about what inspired the story, the idea of 'women's films' and what that entails, creating the movie with a specific vision in mind and how it was made not only for women but for men as well.

    An interview with actress Cox Habbema runs sixteen minutes and sees the actress discuss her work in film and theater. She covers her work in A Question Of Silence, the film's controversial aspects, why she wanted to be in the movie and her thoughts on the script, her thoughts on acting overall and details on some other movies that she'd made around this period.

    The disc also includes a forty-six second Polygoon Journal newsreel about the movie, a promotional still gallery, an original theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection options.

    A Question Of Silence - The Final Word:

    Cult Epics’ Blu-ray release of A Question Of Silence brings a genuinely interesting and well-made thriller to Blu-ray with a solid presentation and some nice extras that explore the movie’s history and significance. Recommended!


    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized A Question Of Silence Blu-ray screen caps!

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