Heart of a Dog

"A dog is at the heart of this film, but there's room for all manner of extraordinary insights about finding love and giving love, being canine and being human." - Wall Street Journal

"Near the end of her dreamy, drifty and altogether lovely movie 'Heart of a Dog,' Laurie Anderson does what she is so great at doing: She tells a story. This one is too powerful to ruin here, but the story and its placement speak to how she makes meaning. Speaking in voice-over, as she does throughout, with her perfect phrasing and warm, gently wry tone, she recounts a harrowing episode from her childhood. It’s one that she had described before, she says. But one day she realized that she had been omitting some horrifying details. She had 'cleaned it up,' as she puts it, because that’s what we do: 'You get your story and you hold onto it, and every time you tell it, you forget it more.'

"'Heart of a Dog' is about telling and remembering and forgetting, and how we put together the fragments that make up our lives. Ms. Anderson shot much of 'Heart of a Dog' herself, which gives it a distinct personal quality that dovetails with her intimate, sometimes confessional narration. What follows is partly a meditation on loss and love that begins with the death of her mother and moves on to include the deaths of Ms. Anderson’s talented and tuneful rat terrier, Lolabelle; her friend, the brilliant artist Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-1978); and her husband, Lou Reed.

"Ms. Anderson’s lulling voice smooths the way, as does the movie’s associative form. Much like a philosopher, she advances, loops back, deepens the argument — with a tender image of Lolabelle, a reference to Tibetan Buddhism, a shot of trees, a nod to Wittgenstein — and then she advances again and circles back once more. At times, it feels as if she too were haunting her movie even as, with every image and word, she fills it with life." - NY Times


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