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Letter to True

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Bruce Weber is best known as a celebrity photographer, but he's also made some Pet Shop Boys videos and a pretty good documentary about Chet Baker called Let's Get Lost. On the evidence of his often charming but frequently baffling Letter to True, his eyes and ears are much keener than his brain.

A lifetime dog lover, Weber dedicates this film to his favorite among his many gorgeous golden retrievers. In this valentine to canines, we see his pampered dogs at play on beaches and in swimming pools and in front of the television. We also make an excursion into Manhattan's dog community, and we see how the other half's dogs live, with their vets, their trainers, their walkers and their acupuncture therapists.

Weber can be forgiven his dog-love--it is a highly communicable disease--but less successful is his attempt to weave in musings about art, politics and September 11. There's an intriguing visit with a rambunctious family of donkey ranchers, a group of people that, in another era, would have been colorful Depression-era criminals like Ma Barker and her gang.

But, mostly, this half-baked project resembles what it probably is: a lark by wealthy and contented artists (the film includes poems read by Weber pals Julie Christie and Marianne Faithfull and home movies of Dirk Bogarde in Provence). Still, as padded as this 78-minute film is with long movie clips and a rather self-important speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter to True functions quite ably as a celebration of doggydom--with many awwww-inspiring shots--and as an unintentionally revealing film about the world of Bruce Weber.

The Galaxy Cinema in Cary will donate 25% of its profits from this film to the Wake County SPCA. Visit www.mygalaxycinema.com for more.

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