Question 7

Watch Question 7

"How Would You Answer..."
  • 1961
  • 1 hr 46 min
  • 6.9  (127)

"Question 7" is a compelling drama set in the backdrop of post-World War II East Germany during the height of the Cold War tensions. The film directed by Stuart Rosenberg, released in 1961, is a powerful story of religious and moral conflict, identity, and state oppression that remains resonant with audiences due to its universal themes.

The story revolves around a young boy named Peter Gottfried, portrayed by Christian De Bresson, who is caught in the crosshairs of escalating political pressure. Peter comes from a family deeply rooted in their Christian faith, with his father, Pastor Gottfried, played by Michael Gwynn, being a man of strong principles and unshakable conviction in his beliefs.

The movie opens with the depiction of the divided German state and the Gottfried family's daily life in East Germany. The tense atmosphere of suspicion and the pervasive presence of the Stasi—the East German secret police—are palpable throughout the film. As the state exerts increasing pressure on churches and religious communities, the Gottfried family must navigate the difficult path of staying true to their faith while dealing with the intrusive and authoritarian socialist government.

The title of the movie, "Question 7," pertains to a pivotal element in the plot. It refers to a question on a form that all students must answer, which serves as a test of loyalty to the state and indirectly as a renunciation of religious affiliations. The crux of the story emerges when Peter is confronted with this very question, which has the potential to shape not only his future but also that of his family.

Peter is a gifted musician and aspires to study music, but his dreams are threatened by the political climate and his association with the church. The boy's journey through the narrative highlights both the personal struggle of a teenager grappling with his conscience and the broader societal issue of standing up to an oppressive regime.

The character of Pastor Gottfried is the moral compass of the film, representing the enduring spirit of the human will against the authoritarian state. He is a symbol of resistance and integrity, offering a stark contrast to the party officials who engage in bullying tactics to force compliance and loyalty from the citizens.

The pastor's unwavering commitment to his faith brings about severe repercussions for the family, further exacerbated by the government's insistence on conformity and the rejection of Western influences, which they deem as imperialist and contrary to socialist values.

Almut Eggert portrays Lieselotte, the dedicated wife and mother, who faces her own set of trials as she tries to support her husband and protect her son. Her portrayal embodies the silent endurance many families experienced during this era, her strength manifesting in quiet resolve and care for her family under distressing circumstances.

The cast delivers nuanced performances that bring to life the complexity of navigating personal faith, familial bonds, and one's aspirations in the face of an unyielding political machine. Beyond the family unit, "Question 7" portrays a community in tumult, showing that the Gottfried family's story is but one instance of the collective challenges and moral dilemmas that East Germans faced under the watchful eye of the Stasi.

The film is distinguished by its thoughtful direction and the evocative use of black-and-white cinematography, which imbues the storytelling with a sense of stark realism. The music score and period-authentic sets contribute to the film's atmosphere, reinforcing the tension and drama inherent in the narrative.

"Question 7" does not shy away from the complexities and grey areas that one navigates under an authoritarian regime. It presents its characters with choices that carry profound personal and political implications, exploring the essence of courage when faced with systemic intimidation and the question of what it means to live with integrity in a society that demands the sacrifice of individual conscience for collective ideology.

The movie expertly balances its somber themes with moments that underscore the human capacity for resilience, hope, and the power of standing up for one's beliefs. "Question 7" is a germane exploration of the conflict between personal convictions and external obligations, a sobering reminder of the price of freedom and the resilience required to preserve one's identity in the face of authoritarianism.

Question 7 is a 1961 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 46 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9.

Question 7
Where to Watch Question 7
Question 7 is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Question 7 for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    1 hr 46 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.9  (127)