A Letter to True

New York Premiere

USA | 78 MINUTES | English |


Bruce Weber's new film assumes the form of a "letter" written home to his beloved golden retrievers while he's on the road working. Still emotionally buffeted in the wake of 9/11, Weber's separation heightens the feelings of love and vulnerability he feels towards his loved ones and sets the tone for this lovely visual essay celebrating the innate nobility of animals - and by extension - the beauty and fragility of life. The mood is one of a "nostalgia for the present" which also freely incorporates images and sounds from the past. In structure A Letter to True (True is Weber's youngest pup) is very much a continuation of the form of his Chop Suey, in which the central subject is a framework in which all manner of thematically associated material can be integrated. As in a letter written late at night in which one wanders from subject to subject as the mind seizes on a new thought, here segments of the dogs gamboling on the beach or posing with super-models alternate with scenes from The Courage of Lassie with a young Elizabeth Taylor and the home movies of Dirk Bogarde. World War II combat photography gives way to a jazzy interlude on the streets of New York, an appreciation of Vietnam combat photographer Larry Burrows, the plight of Haitian refugees, roughhousing farm boys, and the lives of surfers. This ode to those things that Weber feels come from a place that is sincere, good, life-affirming, and yes -- true -- is delicately set to music of Doris Day, Joni James, Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Strayhorn, and Blossom Dearie. The seductive surface hides an adventurous experimental core in this love letter from a friend.