Sunday, 24 April 2016

REVIEW - HEART OF A DOG (LAURIE ANDERSON)


As loss is an inevitable part of life, so Laurie Anderson makes life from loss. The work of a great talent, and a most learned person, Heart of a Dog is both an imparting of knowledge, and a cathartic expression of emotion for Anderson. Her experience as a musician informs her approach of cinema - intent foremost upon the creation of beauty, though not without unyielding creativity, innovative technique, and a wondrous depth of wisdom. Indeed, the beauty of Heart of a Dog is constructed through the juxtaposition of these elements, forming a piece of audiovisual poetry whose attraction is so potent due to its depth, and whose effect is so profound due to its attraction. Anderson's understanding of the nature of death and its impact on those left to deal with it is deeply personal, and her means of exploring it, through meandering musings upon memory, philosophy, and startling abstraction of a bewildering array of stylistic motifs, is marvellously evocative of the workings of the mind, particularly in periods of such emotional intensity. Heart of a Dog trickles through topic after topic, each interconnected by the infinite associations of Anderson's thought process, over despair, confusion, regret, fear, even humour. It flows seemingly uncontrollably, though this is only its success as an artistic device - Anderson exerts uncompromising control over her technique, diverging where she needs to, circling back where she needs to, ever enriching and expanding her film's purview. As a most singular expression, the only terms on which Heart of a Dog needs to succeed are its own. See for yourself: this incredible film could succeed on anyone else's.