There are better films than Laurie Anderson's 'Heart of a Dog'. But no other film packs such a condensed initial emotional punch. It is personal, so intimate yet so ambitious, and keeps its acute focus despite transitioning through so many subjects. All relevant, all mysterious and allThere are better films than Laurie Anderson's 'Heart of a Dog'. But no other film packs such a condensed initial emotional punch. It is personal, so intimate yet so ambitious, and keeps its acute focus despite transitioning through so many subjects. All relevant, all mysterious and all scary.
First of all, Laurie Anderson is a performance and visual artist. And while its easy to smirk at its apparent self-indulgence and pretentiousness, every single word she utters is delivered with a perfectly balanced wry, never delving into satire, but most importantly, never victimizing herself. It is extremely empowering seeing a Septuagint widow baring her soul and focusing on remembering so many dark moments: the deaths of her husband Lou Reed and her apparently estranged mother, the downward spiral life and eventual death of her loved rat terrier Lolabelle, her near-fatal accident jumping in a pool, the world-changing 9/11 attacks and mostly her most twisted and deepest fantasies.
One of these, being right at the beginning, where she describes having "engineered" Lolabelle to be put into her stomach so that she could give birth to it. She is aware how sick that is, but she does not care. Every single word, musical hum and story she says is carefully written. She hides her desperation in her controlled tone, yet she is fascinated with death studying Buddhism, searching understatement and closure in old philosophies and eventually realizing that peace comes when you stop focusing on yourself. Indeed, there are no proper conclusions about life, death and love, because the truth is we do not know anything.
All in all, this is one of those films which simply want you to experience art in its purest form. The entire soundtrack is basically the film converted in audio format. It goes to show that Anderson is committed to challenging herself and putting her art before anything. This is a great film, the soundtrack is a masterpiece.…Expand
This film was not only terrible and pretentious but contained elements which bordered on cruelty to animals. If going against vets advice to put a dog to sleep who was in pain and feeding the blind dog treats to bang a piano so you and your pretentious friends can laugh is art then you can keep it.
If the art teacher from "Ghost World" decided to make a video tribute to her deceased pet, it would be this film, and the fact that I managed to sit through the full 75 minutes is a testament to my masochism. I actually had free admission; after it was over, I wanted my money back.
TheIf the art teacher from "Ghost World" decided to make a video tribute to her deceased pet, it would be this film, and the fact that I managed to sit through the full 75 minutes is a testament to my masochism. I actually had free admission; after it was over, I wanted my money back.
The film's whispered, sing-songy narration is an incoherent mess. Anderson engages in an intellectual name-dropping that's calculated to impress the type of person who desperately wants to be well-rounded but doesn't like to read. She quotes David Foster Wallace and Kierkegaard and Wittegenstein - though I'm sure she's really quoting Bartlett. What she quotes is devoid of context and, of course, depth. I suspect her greatest intellectual influences are actually the hits of acid she dropped back in the 1970s, or perhaps the pamphlets she picked up from the airport Krishnas.
She refers very liberally to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the one work I'm sure she's read. I suppose the film is meant as some kind of personal essay; if so, it has no overarching argument. It's more a pastiche of totally disconnected musings. If you pepper your conversations with phrases like "getting locked into your thought flow," then this film just might be for you. For me personally, as she flashed words onto the screen with pictures of snow-covered trees, YouTube-style videos of her dog, and then tried to connect it all to 9/11 and the national security state, I began to wonder: am I being punked? Is somebody filming the audience right now? Is this film the abomination that it so clearly appears to be, or is this supposed to be a comedy?
"Heart of a Dog" is self-indulgent, excruciating New Age garbage. Instead of wasting your time on this monstrosity, do the following: watch a short film by Maya Deren; go to "The Intercept," and skim an article chosen at random; search online for "cute dogs," and play whatever videos pop up; and finally, go re-read the terrible poetry you wrote when you were in sixth grade. The fact that "Heart of a Dog" has a significantly higher rating than this year's "Victoria" I regard as evidence that most critics are frauds.…Expand