"I was enchanted. I was swept away. I was smiling from one end of the film to the other." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Nina Paley crafted most of SITA SINGS THE BLUES by herself, a remarkable fact when you consider the labor force required of most feature-length animated films. SITA’s eclectic layering of personal history, epic myth and saucy musical numbers is held together by Paley’s palpable pleasure in the art of storytelling. An autobiographical kernel has Nina following her boyfriend from San Francisco to India only to be dumped in a cursory email message. Rather than staying with this first-degree heartbreak, though, Paley relates her own story to an older tale of spurned love: that of Rama and his devoted wife Sita from the ancient Sanskrit epic, the "Ramayana." Three modern-day Indians ad-lib the plot as Paley’s animation wittily keeps pace with their corrections and disagreements. Their narration is periodically interrupted by musical interludes set to tunes by early jazz diva Annette Hanshaw. The songs run the full gamut of romance, providing yet another reflective surface for the tender emotions freely coursing through the film. Through boldly idiosyncratic means, SITA SINGS THE BLUES touches upon the particular consolation that comes of recognizing one’s own situation in songs and stories from the past.
Cast & Crew
- Manish Acharya - Shadow Puppet #3
- Aseem Chhabra - Shadow Puppet #1
- Deepti Gupta - Kaikeyi
- Annette Hanshaw - Sita
- Sanjiv Jhaveri - Dave/Dasharatha/Ravana/Dhobi/Valmiki
- Pooja Kumar - Surphanaka
- Bhavana Nagulapally - Shadow Puppet #2
- Nina Paley - Nina
- Debargo Sanyal - Rama
- Reena Shah - Sita
- Aladdin Ullah - Maricha/Hanuman
- Nitya Vidyasagar - Luv/Kush
Reviews(see the best reviews)
For those who are familiar with the story of the Ramayana will find this intriguing and quite amusing. And if you aren't, then this will still be worth your while. Certainly the various styles of animation, and styles of music, keep this film interesting. For those Hindus who are more orthodox, may be taken aback by the modernistic and sometimes irreverent take on the personalities of the Ramayana, especially Rama. The most interesting part of this film is the dialogue of the three young Indians who are recounting the story, not always clear on the particulars, and argue the ethical and philosophical complexities of this famous epic poem. Interesting also is that it recounts the story from the point of view of the story's heroine, Sita, giving it a feminist perspective. If memory serves me correctly, I think the working title of this project was the Sitayana. Well worth the time!
One of the most whimsical films that I have ever watched. All cultural education should be like this. Incredible music, amazing shifts in medium and hilarious dialogue.
I'd love to see a theatrical adaptation.
See this movie. It's brilliant! Animated and edited almost entirely by director Nina Paley, it's a tour de force set to the music of Annette Henshaw, a 20's-style singer of ditties and blues songs. Historical, political, hilariously wry, it's a musical, too, with incredible animated numbers that will have you rolling on the floor and rolling back the tape to re-watch! The story is based on Indian mythology - the Ramayana - which tracks the story of Sita, an icon of virtue who just can't win in a patriarchal world run by capricious, self-centered deities. The story is framed by an autobiographical sketch of a modern couple split up by a tech job in South India. Hilariously ironic and conflicting versions of the ancient narrative, as relayed in dry, interactive commentary by three charismatic Indian actors -- as they recall, misremember and change their accounts, the delicious animation changes to match the versions.
This is by far the coolest film I’ve ever seen. Smart, gorgeous and mind-blowing. I wonder if Thich Nhat Hanh has watched this. Monty Python meets Vishnu. I actually got up, got a bourbon and peed during the intermission. When I returned it was just ending. I can’t describe how much I love this film. I’ll just leave it at that.
Charming. And I love the old jazz songs sung by Annette Hanshaw, together with the Indian legend, an inspired cultural cocktail.
I knew nothing about the Ramayana story before coming into this. I had just seen the good reviews and that it looks fun. Indeed it is fun and the narrators telling the story reminded me a little of the TV series "Drunk History." Overall the different styles of animation and music mixed with the parallels between Sita and Nina's own animations revolving around the trials and endings of her relationship are well defined, and the end is satisfying if not happy.
Beautifully animated. I love the break. Shot like a play. Lovely, very lovely.
Best movie we have seen on Fandor. Watch it!
This animated film is so good, I've watched it over again to catch what i've missed!
clever and original.
I find it difficult to understand a lot of ancient literature/religious works from India but this was very easy to understand. I love 20s/30s music and never heard of Annette Hanshaw so that was a major plus for me. I'm so glad she mentioned what happened to the cat Lexi in the credits and gave us recommended reading! The only problem I had with this film were the two major music montages that weren't blues only because I get motion sickness and it bothered that for me - just in case anyone else has that problem. I had to fast forward through those.
Wonderful, quirky, unique and enjoyable.
Wildly witty and creative.
Fascinating and fun. Like nothing you'll from the Hollywood cliche mill.
I love the art and Annette Hanshaw's songs, beautifully done!
Always struggled with the story of Ram and Sita. I tell it to my Yoga students as a tale of the bitter ironies of our patriarchal culture. Yes, ours. But I think it is a story about the beginning of this patriarchal culture, when the goddess was buried for a while, that men might develop independent identities, an evolutionary change at the time. But now it is time for a further evolution. Sita returns to rule at her mother's behest. Love the graphics and the music as well.
This film is somewhere between Yellow submarine and looney tunes . The music is wonderful, the story line is great! thank you
Fantastic. So inventive and imaginative. Excellent mixture of Western and Eastern animation, story and music. Such a great idea to put blues music to ancient story of Ramayana!..We (husband and I) would love to see what Nina next produces as she is one of the most talented filmmakers we have ever seen. Would recommend this film to anyone with a touch of whimsy in their heart. Love this film!!!
Oh. Now I get it. Discrimination against women gets its moral authority from religion.
More fun that a hundred thousand screaming monkeys of Vishnu.
Very creative and feminist take on an old poem. My daughter for one, would love for Nina Paley to showcase more of her unique twists on old fables.
a bit unexpected and worth watching
My six-yearold daughter thought this was very interesting, although she did come to me with many questions that I didn't quite know how to answer.
Lovingly crafted and surprisingly engaging.
It's Scott Pilgrim but about Indian mythology instead of video games. Great little film.
good movie lol
cute but weird.
Old cartoon style
Sita reminds me of Betty Boop