Sita Sings the Blues is interesting animated film. It tells the epic Indian tale of Ramayana set to the 1920’s jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw. (BTW – it is screening at the 2009 Silk Screen Festival in Pittsburgh.) What’s interesting about the film is that it is FREE. In February 2009, the director made it completely free under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License. You can copy, share, publish, archive, show, sell, broadcast, or remix Sita Sings the Blues. (You can see the full movie below.) The director Nina Paley is trying to distribute the film the same way people distribute free software and have users donate money back to the creator. See the website for details here. (It is definitely interesting to see directors trying out different models to distribute their films. Children of Invention is selling DVDs while the movie is on the film festival circuit.)
Sita Sings the Blues Synopsis
Sita is a Hindu goddess, the leading lady of India’s epic the Ramayana and a dutiful wife who follows her husband Rama on a 14 year exile to a forest, only to be kidnapped by an evil king from Sri Lanka. Despite remaining faithful to her husband, Sita is put through many tests. Nina (the filmmaker Nina Paley herself) is an artist who finds parallels in Sita’s life when her husband – in India on a work project – decides to break up their marriage and dump her via email. Three hilarious Indonesian shadow puppets with Indian accents – linking the popularity of the Ramayana from India all the way to the Far East – narrate both the ancient tragedy and modern comedy in this beautifully animated interpretation of the epic.
In her first feature length film, Paley juxtaposes multiple narrative and visual styles to create a highly entertaining yet moving vision of the Ramayana. Musical numbers choreographed to the 1920’s jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw feature a cast of hundreds: flying monkeys, evil monsters, gods, goddesses, warriors, sages, and winged eyeballs. A tale of truth, justice and a woman’s cry for equal treatment. Sita Sings the Blues earns its tagline as “The Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told.”
Sita Sings the Blues – Full Movie