- September 26, 2018
The life of artist-musician Laurie Anderson took a dramatic turn in 2011 with the death of her companion for many years, an intelligent, stubborn and much-loved terrier named Lolabelle. Not long afterwards her mother died, and just two years later came the death of Velvet Underground front man Lou Reed, her partner of 21 years.
Anderson put her grieving process into a film. Just as in her multimedia performances, Heart of a Dog is a patchwork of many different elements such as animation, 8mm home movies and found footage. The only constant is Anderson’s own lilting voice meandering in a state of constant wonderment through personal recollections, sometimes pausing to reflect on great subjects such as love, life and death.
Without any hint of sentimentality or sham spirituality, she links rituals from the Tibetan book of the dead or Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language to short autobiographical stories or observations relating to the controlled society that is the legacy of 9/11. Held together by Anderson’s own violin compositions and electronic soundscapes, the film walks the fine line between personal testament and visual essay.