Digging deeper into Toronto festival films – an overview by Janice Page

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tiff logoTORONTO — This wasn’t just the year that the Toronto International Film Festival was overrun with big movies about and by Bostonians. While the headlines were grabbed by predictable awards-season contenders — “Black Mass,” “Spotlight,” Matt Damon’s interplanetary star turn in “The Martian” — there were, as always, just as many smaller films worth noting. And a number of them were femme-helmed and femme-centric. Some even had strong New England connections.

“Heart of a Dog”: There’s always one festival film that really gets to you. This year, the movie that made me laugh, think hard, and cry was Laurie Anderson’s “Heart of a Dog.” Anderson, for those who don’t know, is a multi-talented performer (do yourself a favor and dig out the 1981 radio hit “O Superman”) and sometime filmmaker. She was also married to rock star Lou Reed. This documentary reflects on Reed’s death, along with other recent losses both personal (her mother) and global (9/11). The memory of Anderson’s beloved rat terrier, Lolabelle, is at the heart of it all, providing the vehicle for a stream-of-consciousness cinematic essay — mesmerizingly delivered in Anderson’s soft, melodic voice — that leans heavily on Buddhism and the wisdom of Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein, and David Foster Wallace. This film broke me down and filled me up, and I don’t even own a dog.Read more>>

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