IT is difficult to watch “Heart of a Dog” and not leave with a smile on your face and a smirk on your heart.
Visual artist, musician, director Laurie Anderson weaves anecdotes about her beloved, rat terrier, Lolabelle,” into observations and reflections on post-911 New York City, growing up as well as sundry other matters.
The film debuts this evening at the 53rd New York Film Festival.
“Heart of a Dog” is at once a visual essay and an epic poem on the level of the Iliad. Indeed, it relies heavily on figures of speech associated with poetry – metaphors, similes, anaologies – to tell a story about love and loss via myriad avenues.
Often in “Heart of a Dog,” LA spends considerable time discussing a seemingly unrelated topic until perhaps midway she connects the dots. It's akin to freefalling on a roller coaster, then at the last minute being swept upward. It is an exhilarating thrill ride.
A major character in “Heart of a Dog,” a commissioned by Arte, is LA’s narration. Hers is the voice of a raconteur. A light night deejay. Her vocals, backed by a dreamy soundtrack, hypnotize the listener, lulling and pulling her/him in to this wonderland.
Elsewhere, the visual aides and animation – veterinary hospital scenes, New York neighborhoods, ice skaters, hawks flying overhead, document storage facilities – are quite potent, highlighting LA’s skill as a visual artist. Two mediums are at work simultaneously – one a film, the other a shifting/ever-changing painting.
The most powerful and wonderful imagery of all, however, is of the lovely, loyal, talented Lolabelle.
Visit http://www.filmlinc.com to learn more about the 53rd New York Film Festival, including showtimes and venues.