Lolabelle lives in elegant Heart of a Dog

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      Directed by Laurie Anderson. Rating unavailable.

      Heart of a Dog is at once a bold step in personal, experimental cinema and of a piece with Laurie Anderson’s body of work. The beauty of the film—well, one beauty among many—is that it allows her to amalgamate all of her interests in one multimedia package.

      The principal interest, at least initially, is Anderson’s relationship with her late dog, a rat terrier called Lolabelle. The veteran musician-storyteller is an unreliable, if reliably entertaining, narrator; can we really believe her intricate tales of the acquisition, decline, and piano-playing skills of this lovable pet? No matter. It’s enough to have the elegant, incantatory flow of animated images, old photographs, and rough street footage (some from decidedly canine POVs), all held together by Anderson’s hypnotic music and hushed, often childlike poetry.

      It’s not until near the end of the 75-minute work that you really get the sense of its hidden subject: the death of husband and creative counterweight Lou Reed. He shows up briefly, as a doctor in a dreamlike reenactment, and on the soundtrack at the end. Then it hits you, with full yet somehow sublime force, that enduring this kind of loss is the main price of being human.