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Natural Awakenings New York City

Heart of a Dog Film Opens in New York October 21

heart of a dog

Heart of a Dog—the critically acclaimed, collage-like film by renowned performance artist Laurie Anderson—distributed by Abramoramawill open for theatrical release October 21 at Film Forum in New York.

Heart is a personal essay in which Anderson weaves together her childhood memories, video diaries, and philosophical musings on data collection, surveillance culture and the Buddhist conception of the afterlife, as well as heartfelt tributes to the artists, writers, musicians and thinkers who inspire her. The New York Times calls it “wild inventive… philosophically astute, emotionally charged.”

Fusing her own witty, inquisitive narration with original violin compositions, hand-drawn animation, 8mm home movies and artwork culled from exhibitions past and present, Anderson has made a hypnotic 75-minute film out of the raw materials of her life and art. Through it, she examines how stories are constructed and told—and how we use them to make sense of our lives.

Beginning with the dream sequence that opens the film, Heart creates a visual language out of many linked stories, with a result that is akin to dream logic.

Screen shot 2015-10-08 at 8.30.55 PM"The first story is told from the perspective of my dream self," Anderson says. "The first words in the movie are 'This is my dream body.' So the narrator says right away that these stories come from a different time and place."

But the film is as much about fractured stories as it is about the construction of stories. Its greater narrative explores the concepts of love and loss, life and death, and the passage of time.

Anderson segues into her beloved dog Lolabelle's journey into the afterlife—or the bardo, as it is known in the Tibetan Book of the Dead—a journey depicted in a series of charcoal drawings that were originally shown in her 2011 show "Forty-Nine Days in the Bardo" at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia. That multimedia exhibition included some of the themes found in Heart, including love and death, the many levels of dreaming, and illusion.

Film Forum, located at 209 West Houston St., is the only autonomous nonprofit cinema in NYC and one of the few in the United States. For more information, visit FilmForum.org/film/heart-of-a-dog-film or HeartOfADogFilm.com.