David Hines (hradzka) wrote,
David Hines

Sita Sings the Blues

Well, here's a movie I definitely want to see: SITA SINGS THE BLUES. Roger Ebert may be getting more inclined to slip annoying and irrelevant political asides into his movie reviews as he gets older, but the man still knows how to spot interesting movies, and if his description of this flick doesn't make you 1) go "omg, wtf!" and 2) want to watch it right now, check your pulse, 'cause you may be dead.

It is an animated version of the Ramayana told in a mix of cut-out illustration and cartoon style, with musical numbers to the 1920s recordings of the late jazz singer Annette Henshaw. Rather than focus on Rama, though, the film is about his wife Sita, who literally, and famously, went through fire to prove her faithfulness to him. And he ditched her later, anyway. The movie retells the Ramayana as the story of a bad break-up, and juxtaposes it with a terrible modern-day breakup, based on the experience of filmmaker Nita Paley, who found solace in Sita's story and so decided to make the movie. Meanwhile, the film's three narrators try to remember the story of the Ramayana and argue amongst themselves over the details.

Here's the trailer. Doesn't that look neat? Paley is facing the brutal obstacle of getting the music rights cleared: the recordings themselves are public domain, but the *songs* are under copyright, so she's in a very rough spot. She's probably going with a creative commons license on the film itself, and will be putting up a promotional copy of the whole thing online once the rights are cleared.

If you want to get an idea of how the musical numbers work, I found a clip of one of them on YouTube. It's below the cut.

Tags: movies

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