Janus, the most ancient king of Italy, was represented by two faces because he knew the past and the future and because, as the sun, he ushered the day in and out. He presided over gates and avenues. Which isn't too interesting, except that there's not much else to say about the Janus film festival running this week at the Harvard Square. With a couple of exceptions, there will be two solid masterpieces a day, so many miles of beautiful celluloid that the only hazard is OD-ing on quality. To shake the habit there's always High Plains Drifter, a reminder that the medium still has some problems. Eastwood may drive a locomotive through the saloon in this one, or annihilate some illegally immigrated Chicanos or something.
Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis. I want to say that Judy Garland has sparkle, but that sounds paltry: the imagery of her life has always been more like a shooting star, burning out fast but brilliant. This movie lies at the zenith of her arc, anyway, and she's a wonder, starched and rosy-cheeked and singing Trolley Song with an energy that makes her creditable daughter Liza Minelli look like a radiator. The 1944 color in this Vincente Minelli (the same) period piece is gaudy, sumptuous and eerie-looking relative to the hushed or sheeny tones we're used to.
Belle de Jour. The roughly chronological Bunuel series at the Harvard-Epworth Church must be ending soon, because this is a recent one. I've never seen it, but it comes right after a good Bunuel (Simon of the Desert) and right before a great one (Tristana), which is credentials.
Last Tango and Streetcar. Remember what Woody Allen looked like after the Orgasmatron went berserk in Sleeper? This double bill still makes me shake my head and grope for a drink.