Comfortable and Furious

Sita Sings the Blues- 2008

82 minutes

Fair Value of Sita Sings the Blues: $10.00. Sita Sings the Blues is a distinctive animation debut, showcasing a variety of styles and aesthetics. I’d say it’s an excellent stoner animation for college bars looking for a weird visual on the background TVs. It’s a good pop culture primer for the most basic points of the main story of Hindu belief.

The Ramayana for beginners: Sita Sings the Blues is a recounting of parts of the Hindu mythical epic Ramayana, focusing on the plight of Sita, wife of Rama. Sita is kidnapped by the demon king Ravana, and Rama has to rescue her, however, he remains distrustful of her fidelity after the event.

Ok, Hinduism 101 for you ‘Muricans: Sita is considered an avatar of the Goddess Lakshmi and the human embodiment of feminine virtues- the Hindu version of the Virgin Mary, to make a bad analogy. Rama is considered an avatar of Vishnu and the ‘Perfected Man’- to some degree, you can argue that Rama is the Christ figure of Hindu theology (or you could say Christ is the Rama figure of Christian theology).

In Nina Paley’s debut, this story gets a lightly irreverent, feminist revisiting. Sita sings numerous musical interludes with the public domain songs of Annette Hanshaw. The overall narrative is provided by three shadow puppet narrators, whose disagreements represent the difficulties in retelling a 3500-year-old myth cycle. Parallel with the myth is a modern biographical story of a women becoming alienated from her husband.

Sita does get a raw deal in the Ramayana- she walks through every test that Rama sets for her, and still gets exiled to the jungle. In Paley’s telling, Sita becomes a stand-in for every woman who’s ever gotten the ‘It’s not you, it’s me” speech from a man they loved.

The flash-based animation and reliance on cloned animation sprites creates a strange visual mashup of childish simplicity, violence, and Hindu imagery- almost like a My Little Pony of Hindu beliefs.

The Culmination of the Flash Revolution: What’s most amazing about this film is that it was largely created and animated by a crew of two. It’s a show case of how Flash and other simple animation programs have enable extremely personalized artistic visions to thrive.

In conclusion, Sita Sings the Blues is a good indie selection for animation fans who want to take a break from Adult Swim and try something a bit more exotic and original.



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