Most of us know what to expect from a documentary. Mix archive footage, talking heads, maybe some embedded action or sincere agit prop. Laurie Anderson, who directed her own 1986 concert doc “Home of the Brave,” has been roaming the world for decades with various performances and installations packed with multimedia.
With “Heart of a Dog,” the artist-performer is adept at combining her mellifluous narrator voice (remember “O Superman”?) with a wide range of images and music (she decided to provide a score at the last minute) culled from her lifetime of performing.
But this is no hodge-podge. She manages to thread a through-narrative, starting with her beloved late dog and reaching an emotional climax involving the losses of her mother and husband Lou Reed, while ruminating and asking deep questions along the way.
See this Criterion title on iTunes and Vudu and watch our interview, which is a performance of its own. She chose the shifting light, the distance from the camera.