Now Screening: Heart Of A Dog

Step inside the Roxy Cinema Tribeca this year and you’ll experience every grain of the magic of motion pictures. With gourmet concessions and craft cocktails, the cinema program for 2017 will offer the best in classic, independent and foreign films. This week, center stage belongs to Laurie Anderson and her 2015 film, Heart Of A Dog.

Anderson is without a doubt, an artist prominent in the fabric of New York’s cultural legacy.

She is highly regarded in the realms of the fine arts and the contemporary classical for a creative wit merging narrative performance with musical innovation. Her long time relationship with Lou Reed extends her roots further to the origins of punk and the scene of Warhol’s Factory.

Anderson’s singular impressions of New York City form the setting for Heart of a Dog, her film inspired by memories of her bereaved terrier, Lolabelle. The scenery is served by the social landscape of Tribeca & the West Village, the trauma suffered by the city after 9/11, and the artists whose inhabitance compose its cultural texture. Julian Schnabel makes a cameo. Sculptor Gordon Matta Clark is noted in one of the film’s more poignant moments where through the insight of Anderson, his friend, his work is given a pure and intimate perspective. Reed, too, is grazed by evasive sweeps of the camera, highlighting his recent passing as a subtextual foundation for the storyline.

But to merely say that the film is about loss and healing would minimize its scope and place too heavy a weight on its tone. It consists of a series of visual anecdotes departing intermittently from Lolabelle to explore existential and spiritual questions. Social issues and enigmatic patterns of human behavior are deliberated in a manner that is honest, pleasurable, and carried by Anderson’s narration resonant with the blithe eloquence of her performances. The philosophies are inspiring but too graceful to be didactic, even questioning the validity of storytelling itself. She augments each anecdote with charming visuals and an expertly crafted sound design.

Heart of a Dog recalls a quality of film that has been somewhat lost in the last fifteen years, it re-establishes the territory where art and cinema share a dialogue. Anderson portrays themes about art, love, trauma, social conditioning, Buddhist philosophy and the afterlife as they truly are – ineffable, yet worthy of our curiosity and wonder.

Heart Of A Dog will screen at the Roxy Cinema this Sunday, January 22nd at 7:30pm. For a full cinema schedule, please visit www.roxycinematribeca.com or Fandango. For enquiries, please call 212.519.6820 or email info@roxycinematribeca.com

Words by Micki Pellerano