Sita Sings the Blues – Nina Paley – 2008

Sita Sings the Blues CoverOriginal title: Sita Sings the Blues
Rating: 4 Stars
Year: 2008
Directors: Nina Paley
Duration: 82 min.
Genre: Animation, Musical, Comedy

Sita Sings the Blues

An animated version of the epic Indian tale of Ramayana set to the 1920s jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw. Or so it reads on the IMDb page of Sita Sings the Blues. What it doesn’t mention is the absolute crazyness of this film. Sometimes it feels like an acid trip, other times it’s a screwball comedy, and when it’s not a melancholic musical it might very well be a film trying to teach us a little something about Hindu mythology. In a way it does what Monty Pyton’s Life of Brian did with the bible – mocking silly mythology that some people take way too seriously. However this film isn’t actually judging people who do.

Rama will come here, and you still have one last chance, because once he comes here… You know… Your ass is grass.

The actual story is going to be a little difficult to explain, so I won’t bother. Even the narrators in the film – a bunch of bored Gods – argue about it all the time. Those parts are hilarious, questioning the logic of the story or the actions of certain characters. But what it boils down to is that a beautiful woman named Sita is being treated so badly by everything and everyone that she gets the blues. Her blue lover Rama is being a dick about everything and so are most other characters. The poor girl gets kidnapped, exiled, killed, blamed for what have you… but to cope with it she sings songs, pretty songs.

Her skin is fair like the lotus blossom. Her eyes are like lotus pools. Her hands are like… um… lotuses. Her breasts like… BIG… ROUND… FIRM… JUICY… LOTUSES.

What is kind of nice is that those songs are not actually sung by the voice actress, but by Annette Hanshaw, a 1920’s star jazz singer. The songs make Frank Sinatra seem like a bad boy, but they’re sweet and melancholic. Perfect for a woman with the blues. Director Nina Paley made this film while going through a break-up of her own. It is what the second, modern and western, story woven into the film is about. It has a distinct style of animating, and so do the parts about Sita’s story and the intermission. Yes, this film has a built-in coffee break – awesome! Too bad it too is animated so you won’t be getting up. It’s crazy to imagine one person made all of this on her own. Sita Sings the Blues is a truly unique piece of art and should be seen by anyone with a love of animated films and/or jazz music.

Sita Sings the Blues

It’s free! Yay! Oh wait no…

The bad part of this film is that it’s free, in the public domain. So you can grab a copy right now! So why is that bad? Well, because of that ridiculous thing called copyright law. I’m normally the first to whine about the availability of media products, but in this case I’m going to say it is just wrong to get this for free. Because of copyright on the 1920’s (!) Hanshaw songs, this film can not be released to make money – so the director has had to release it for free. Please consider donating a little money on this butt-ugly site before (or after) watching this beautiful piece of art.

Sita Sings the Blues

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