Musician Laurie Anderson directs Heart of a Dog, a moving eulogy for her dog Lolabelle—a film which also works as a loving tribute to her late husband, Lou Reed, and a sad meditation on the death of her mother.
Shot on small cameras and iPhones, the film is scored and narrated by Anderson; it has similarities to some of her great spoken-word singing from past albums. She explores the life and death of her dog, a true member of her family, and the virtues of feeling sad without being sad in a time of loss.
There’s a soothing quality to the movie; in a sense, it offers coaching for the future death of loved ones, and sound advice for coping with deaths in the recent past. Anderson ruminates on the existence of ghosts, and even shares footage of her dog, who had gone blind, performing a piano concert for an amused audience. (Yes, Lolabelle learned how to play keyboards.)
The music includes some of the best works Anderson has ever composed, and the film closes to the strains of the wonderful Lou Reed and his song “Turning Time Around.” Anderson fans will love this; dog-lovers will love this; and Lou Reed fans will be enchanted.
This is one of the better documentaries in recent years. Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to start a search for a piano teacher to work with my dog.
Heart of a Dog is available for download via iTunes, Vudu and other online sources.