|Feb. 23rd, 2005 07:21 am A Dog of a Documentary: "A Letter to True"|
"A Letter to True"Leave a comment
"A dog has the soul of a philosopher"
"A Letter to True" is about Bruce Weber's travels and his relationship with his favorite dog, True.
Bruce Weber is a traveling photojournalist, documentarian and a dog lover. He owns a nice home near the ocean and frequently thinks about his puppies. Feeling homesick, Weber pens a letter to True, his dog. "A Letter to True" features an interesting narrative device because the topics of this movie range from horrors of war to the humor of canine behavior.
The film opens in black and white as a topless super model begins filming a documentary about her dog. As the credits roll, the film opens on a gorgeous sunswept beach as dogs frollic with their masters. A Doris Day tune is heard and is cross edited with the old "Breakfest of Champions" opening for the N.F.L. Within the first three minutes of this movie, one is aware that they are going to encounter a unique experience.
This documentary is intercut with MGM's production of "The Magic of Lassie." In that classic, a teen aged Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Moran discuss the religious significance of dogs in the world. The line between fantasy and reality is crossed when Weber gets to photograph actress Elizabeth Taylor. Weber eventually asked Taylor to contact a friend who was dying of AIDS and cancer. An activist for AIDS research, Taylor called Weber's friend and discussed their favorite subject, dogs.
In direct contrast to the royalty of Elizabeth Taylor, there is a farmer's family headed by Momma Matriarch. A Confederate divorcee with four husbands notched on her belt buckle, Momma discusses the sensitivity of her animals. After 9/11, Momma noticed how silent the dogs, cat and horse became on the farm. Life goes on and Weber films the family mud surfing behind a jeep in the backyard. These bucolic scenes reveal the joy of getting dirty since life is so short.
"A Letter to True" is a memory piece. Weber reinforces the visuals with romantic ballards from Jimmy Durante and other contemporary artists from the fifties and sixties. Marianne Faithful and Julie Christie read sonnets. Narrative events come to a complete circle when Weber photographs singer John Martin, a singer who wants to look like Elizabeth Taylor. Weber also recalls the elegance of British actor Dirk Borgarde and how a dog brought happiness for the actor's later years.
Weber's good heart does suffer from naivete. Former President Bill Clinton is acknowledged in the credits. A Haitian Woman openly blames retired Attorney General John Ashcroft for the current policies on Haitian deportation. As any 30 year resident of South Florida knows, America's policy on Haiti has been law since the Carter Administration. If the they wanted to balance the politics of this story story, the producers could have mentioned the Barney cam which is found on http://www.whitehouse.gov/barney/. After all, Rebublicans still have fond memories of FDR's old dog, Fala.
Local residents will have the opportunity to meet Bruce Weber and True the dog this Friday, February 25 at Sunrise Cinemas Gateway 4 (1820 East Sunrise Blvd, Ft. Lauderdale) at 7:30 p.m. After the film, Weber will lead a film discussion and attend a Champaign reception to continue discussions with Chris Gaba, Central Bark Doggy Day Care Vietnam Vets Dave Eckart (who was involved with the K-9 Unit) and Colonel Connie Christianson. The event is hosted by Central Bark Doggy Day Care, Zeitgeist Films and Sunrise Cinemas. For additional ticket information call 954-763-7994 or go to http://www.sunrisecinemas.com
The Central Bark Doggy Day Care, who has designed a “Dog Bless America” tribute T-Shirt will kick-off their 5 month long t-shirt sales project at the Opening Night film event for A Letter To True. Proceeds will be presented on July 4th to not for profit organizations; Atlas Guardian Angel Foundation, and Operation Military Care K-9 (supports about 25% of the Dog forces working in Iraq and Afghanistan). For more information go to Http://www.centralbarkusa.com./