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Sita Sings the Blues

You know what I love? When something that has been hyped lives up to its expectations. The animated film Sita Sings the Blues has been mentioned more and more frequent in the blog-o-sphere and I was worried that the film wasn't as wonderful as everybody claimed. After all that has happened before with other films - for instance Dark Knight, which is okay, but not a masterpiece by a longshot. But Sita Sings the Blues was everything I was promised. Therefore I'm continuing the hype and urging you to see it, and adding to the chorus of: You must see this movie! It is wonderful, funny and the animation is just gorgeous.

Nina Paley sums up the film as Sita Sings the Blues is a musical, animated personal interpretation of the Indian epic the Ramayana. She weaves the story of Rama and Sita together with her own story of being dumped and is very clear in stating:

It was a very personal project from the beginning. Including the autobiographical bits emphasizes that. I didn’t set out to tell THE Ramayana, only MY Ramayana. I wanted to be very clear about my point of view, my biases.

In depicting the various narratives Sita Sings the Blues uses different animation styles, and this was one of my favourite aspects of the film. Paley states that she wanted to show that there are a wealth of visual traditions associated with the Ramayana. In addition the different animation styles helps establish and easily identify the various strands of the story. They also give to the film an incredible dynamism and playfulness.

Throughout the film Sita sings to the tune of 1920's jazz vocalist Annette Hanshaw. This has caused some trouble in regards to copyright, which you can read more about on Paley's official site linked below. Personally this film illustrated to me how sharing music actually causes people to buy more music instead of less. For after watching this film I am on the hunt for Annette Hanshaw tunes, as they are utterly gorgeous.

The film also includes the best use of narrators in a long time. Depicted as shadow puppets they tell and comment on the story along the way. They were possibly my favourite part of the film - with a great use of "Intermission" coming a good second.

The official sight for the film is here and you can watch it at Reel 13. If you have an hour and half available I suggest you do so. It will be worth it. I promise.

(I also have dastardly hopes that some of you icon-savvy people will watch it, and then there will be icons. Which I would love.)


Films watched in 2009.
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