No joy on this street

Joyless_Street_cover

The Joyless Street

The film focuses on two Viennese women, Maria (Asta Nielson) and Grete (Greta Garbo), as they struggle to survive and better their circumstances during the interwar years.

Maria becomes a prostitute. While Grete (Greta Garbo) miraculously holds on to her virtue.

The film is melodramatic and moralistic, but provides a fascinating look at the economic wasteland of Austrian life in the interwar years and explains how Hitler was able to rise to power. People were so desperate for economic relief, very little else mattered.

The horse said yes!

Equus

Equus (1977)

When 17-year old Alan Strang blinds six horses with a metal spike, psychiatrist Martin Dysart (Richard Burton) investigates at the request of a court magistrate.

After a series of intense therapy sessions, Alan reveals he worships horses as the manifestation of the divine. When a girl took him to the stables to consummate their relationship, he felt his beloved horses watching and judging him. Ashamed, he lashed out in anger.

Burton is electric in the opening and closing monologues as he talks about the ways our desire to worship the divine manifests itself. Alan’s relationship with horses is taboo and reprehensible, but we often find examples of revered people of faith acting outside the mainstream of acceptable behavior. Despite Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of his son, we hold him as a supreme example of faith.

Dysart sees this paradoxical leap of faith as integral to the human experience and worries his professional work is undermining it. Echoing themes from A Clockwork Orange, Dysart worries his attempts to “cure” Alan will remove the passion and spark which makes him unique.