Review: Heart of a Dog
Director: Laurie Anderson
By Mae Anthony
Let’s get something sorted: if you look at the title of this movie, or even the picture advertising it, and think that it’s about dogs then you might be a little surprised when you see it. It is, what you might call, a bit of an arty movie.
It was visually stunning. Director Laurie Anderson not only produced, wrote, and directed Heart of a Dog, but was behind many of the illustrations that filled a good portion of the film and also contributed musical content.
The film proposes ideas about love and death. Anderson takes events from her life, and focuses on some realistic world experiences, such as the fall of the World Trade Centre in the 9/11 attacks, and the rapid increase of security cameras marking the beginning of the borderline “Big Brother” world that we have come to know. Switching between scenes that were quite surreal to ones that were chilling and eerie, the premise of this film is not particularly easy to pin-point. Normally this would deter me but when I discovered the non-linear, almost-poetic way that Anderson wrote it I was able to just go with the flow.
It was filled with metaphors, soothing narrations, and beautiful visual and aural components; the film looks at companionship, the correlation between love and death, and the imposition of grief and emotional compromise. It makes anecdotes and exposes a rather hard-hitting observation of a world in which people do not understand the quality of their lives. It is influenced by Buddhist philosophy, which adds to the over-all heartfelt ethos of her unique analysis of animalistic consciousness. Despite my earlier comments about the pendulum swinging changes between beautiful and chilling scenes, I found upon leaving the cinema that it left me feeling refreshed and strangely relaxed, as though I had just been meditating.
Not your conventional, everyday film, and I must remind you that I did say it is one of those “arty” conceptual ones. It was almost like a set of poems drawing you in – not immediately comprehendible – leaving prints in your mind, keeping you focussed, and mildly obsessed long after its ending.
You can catch another screening of Heart of a Dog at Cinema Paradiso on Saturday 16 July.
For more information visit the Revelation Film Festival Website.