Sita Sings the Blues
(Unrated, 1:21:31, Released 2008)
|Genres:||Animation, Romance, Musical & Performing Arts|
|Release Date:||Feb 11, 2008|
|DVD Release Date:||Jul 28, 2009|
|Starring:||Annette Hanshaw, Reena Shah, Sanjiv Jhaveri, Aseem Chhabra, Bhavana Nagulapally, Manish Acharya|
|Directed by:||Nina Paley|
|Synopsis:||Two women having troubles with their men, separated by several centuries, find their stories coming together in this animated comedy-drama from artist and animator Nina Paley. A female cartoonist moves from the United States when her husband gets a new job in India. While acclimating to her new life in India, the cartoonist becomes fascinated with the Hindu folk tale "the Ramayana," in which a beautiful woman named Sita, who was created spontaneously from the Earth, is adopted by King Janaka, pledged to a brave warrior named Rama, and is kidnapped by the demonic leader Ravana. Sita's story is given two visual interpretations at once -- a visually striking abstract version and another which employs a whimsical, cartoony approach and uses vintage recordings of jazz singer Annette Hanshaw for Sita's voice. As the film jumps back and forth between two adaptations of the Ramayana, the cartoonist discovers that her sojourn in India has taken a turn for the worse when her husband falls in love with another woman. Sita Sings The Blues was an official entry at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi|
|Full movie details|
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Other Top Reviews
April 7, 2009
An oddly cute and unorthodox film utilizing hilarious shadow puppets and really nice cross-cutting blues music with Annette Hanshaw. I got to learn a little bit about Indian religion, experienced a real-life breakup semi-familiar to me, enjoyed some soothing music, and sometimes laughed my head off.
March 4, 2009
A delightful little animation, unfortunately stuck in litigious limbo for the time being on account of its unlicensed jazz soundtrack, which is a great pity because it is enormous fun and deserves to reach the widest possible audience. I cannot say I knew anything about the Ramayana before watching Sita Sings the Blues. However, not the least of its achievements, the film is remarkably educational with respect to its sources, somehow managing to be simultaneously reverent and humorously critical.
There are several component parts to the narrative, each with its own individual style of animation. Wonderfully voiced, with an almost improvisational feel, a trio of shadow puppets set the scene, introducing the characters and discussing the events of the Ramayana before we watch them unfold. In addition, writer/director Nina Paley contrasts the turbulent relationship of Rama and his wife Sita with her own autobiographical tale of marital break-up. Finally, interspersed throughout are the Twenties jazz songs of Annette Hanshaw, as lip-synched by Sita. What with kidnap, banishment, single motherhood and trial by fire among her woes, there's little wonder she's singing the blues, poor girl! Women, dump your men and get a cat! "That's all" :D
February 27, 2009
absolutely adorable! yes, it's a flash-animated version of the ramayana set to 1920's jazz music!! it's completely enchanting, gorgeous and hilarious and u can watch it here: http://www.thirteen.org/sites/reel13/blog/watch-sita-sings-the-blues-online/347/
July 18, 2012
In the 14th century(almost definitely B.C.), Rama is in line for the throne. But that is derailed by a promise by the current king that causes Rama to be exiled for 14 years. His true love, Sita, joins him in exile. Not soon after, she is kidnapped by Ravana.
In modern day San Francisco, Nina and Dave live a life of contentment together with their cat. One day, he gets a six-month job offer in India which he accepts.
"Sita Sings the Blues" is a mesmerizing and immensely entertaining movie that mixes a wide variety of animation styles in the service of the neat trick of pulling the epic Ramayana(which sounds familiar) into the modern day by injecting it alongside a possibly autobiographical storyline. Plus, we get commentary on the ancient text that is as playful as it is thought provoking. Even the intermission is fun. And then there are the blues songs which fit into the narrative perfectly, all in a positively feminist way.
July 2, 2010
Sita Sings The Blues brings interesting, vibrant animation to the legendary story of the Ramayana, a Sanskrit epic of Hindu lore about star-crossed lovers Sita and Rama, and is paralleled with the filmmaker's (Nina Paley) own love and heartbreak. But the net effect is one of limited impact, despite the occasional dazzle and sprinkle of pathos.
There are essentially 4 different visual mediums on display here: 2D painting-like characters moving like paper dolls for exposition, more 2D with the narration portion from Indian shadow puppets, a more fluid animation (vector graphics -- giving everything a pronounced geometric feel) for when Sita sings out her blues via (deceased blues singer) Annette Hanshaw, and scribbly animation for Nina Paley's modern parallel to Sita's sufferings. The vector graphics anchor the film visually, bursting with color and hypnotically swaying movement that arrests your attention -- a similar effect as the recent The Secret of Kells.
Smartly, the film had those 3 sub-myth characters (Indian shadow puppets) "narrate" from a modern point of view as the epic is being told, sorting out the how's and why's of the story with humorous exchanges and colloquial grounding. Interspersed are the crudely-drawn sequences of Nina's life, and the progress of her relationship with Dave, and the 2D renderings of the Ramayana's advancing story. Then there's Sita singing the blues in buoyant animation, lending gravity to an otherwise simple film about women getting the shaft, and perhaps more earnestly about women drawing inspiration from strong women of legend. The blues singing was pretty and nice, but again it kept the movie from developing into something more complex than just creating Indian animated music videos. It was entertaining enough, and cleverly rendered (occasionally exciting) with some quirky touches, but the plot was as narrow as Sita's alluring waist.
April 21, 2010
Astonishingly imaginative, a true original, one might say. A work of art? Definitely. But that's as far as my appreciation goes, as Darjeeling is not really my cup of tea.
August 31, 2009
Two parallel stories of life and love and loss, the story of Rama + Sita interleaved with the story of the director's marriage breakup. Set to the songs of Annette Hanshaw which echo the same theme. Plus a dialog in the background of three Indians narrating (and arguing about) what actually happened in the 14th century, no 11th century, no BC, definitely BC. Plus the best two minute intermission I've ever seen.
Written by, produced by, directed by, and a whole-lot-of-other-things by Nina Paley, who's distributing it by letting you watch it/download it for free. Check out "www.sitasingstheblues" where you can find out loads more information..
And then sit down and watch it. It's charming, chock-full of ideas and very very funny.
fb1419615964December 8, 2010
First things first: this is an animated film released under the CC-SA license, which basically means its free. It can be downloaded or watched at http://www.sitasingstheblues.com/watch.html
Its perhaps the funniest cinematic adaptation of the Ramayana. The opening scenes are totally hilarious and with tongue firmly on cheek, the film is.. let's say irreverent towards Rama. The narrators themselves are shown to be not highly knowledgeable of Ramayana, and that in fact adds to the fun. Its a film from a feminist viewpoint and Rama is the err.. villain. Created by Nina Paley, the film also tells her breakup story along with Sita's. It's essentially a musical featuring lots of jazz numbers, and towards the end they just keep on coming, making the film drag a bit. A great attempt nevertheless.
October 6, 2009
WOW! What a interesting mashup of concepts to bring us an original take on a classic Indian tale! Nina Paley wrote, directed, animated (and just about everthing else) this wonderfully vibrant, charming tale.
Almost as amazing as the film itself, is the story by which it came to finally be released. Copyright issues over the use of Annette Hanshaw's music came into play. On a independently filmed movie such as this, the fees for using the songs would have cost more than the entire film to make! The director continues to be active in helping rewrite free speech/censorship laws.
And if you're still on the fence about watching this movie, it's absolutely free! Check out www.sitasingstheblues.com and you can d/l it for ABSOLUTELY FREE! Ms. Paley thinks this is the best way to ultimately make money off this film and she may just be right.
Filled with wry humor, classic 1920's jazz, and a unique animation style; this is seriously one of the best times I've had watching a film lately!
August 23, 2009
Unbelieveable. We've all seen it before when they take someone's music and create an original story with it (Mamma Mia!, Across the Universe), but Sita Sings the Blues does it better than anything I have evers seen before. Mixing the lovely jazz music of Annette Hanshaw with different styles of animation to tell th story of the Ramayana, Nina Paley has created something unique and has shown us how talented and promising she is. Something not be missed and definitely something to fall in love with.
fb900160205December 20, 2012
Really clever, and sweet. I recommend. And E loved it too---you never know what "nonrated" means, but in this case, it's okay for kids. Don't let the "animated for grownups" description stop you for kids 8+.
October 22, 2010
This is awesome! My new recommended animation! It is actually a bit too slow at times, but it is very creative. It is also seen from the woman's perspective mostly, which is original because usually it's seen from the historical perspective only. I'd say, it gives consideration to each individual, so none of these characters are very pure or very evil like how it is told in the real story. I really enjoyed this movie. It didn't lose the Bollywood taste in it with the singing and dancing scenes, but it is a blues bollywood :) Nice work. Nice combination of Indian culture and non-Indian. It's funny, tragic, romantic, well I guess the story of Ramayana is anyway...but the point is, I like how Nina Paley put all these different styles and culture all together in an original way. My only complain was the singing part can be erased a little. I enjoyed seeing Sita in the more realistic version. U know...more talking... The singing Sita has too much part in it lol... Geez how could she come up with that body concept...Kinda annoying a little bit, but it's probably just me. I don't want to be too subjective.
May 29, 2010
Didn't know what to expect with this, but I really liked it. I didn't know what it was about going into it, but it definitely had funny moments and really good story telling.
May 4, 2010
I really enjoyed this film, particularly the animation and the variations thereof and the way the story was told.
March 1, 2010
India, the 20th century B.C. Sita is shunned by her husband, the king of Rama. Forced to go into exile in the forest, she nevertheless remains devoted to the man she loves. Four-thousand centuries later, Nina has a similar experience, albeit a modern-day version of Sita?s fate. Her husband Dave, muted to India by his company, leaves her? with a simple email. Devastated, Nina has to face life on her own. The parallel between director/animator Nina Paley and Sita, a goddess in Indian mythology, is obvious. And in lieu of traditional therapy, the director adapts the famous Indian myth into a musical animation movie.
Awarded the Cristal for Best Film at the Annecy Festival and saluted at the 2008 Berlinale, Sita Sings The Blues mixes and matches different types of animation styles. It may all seem a bit confusing at the beginning, but we eventually differentiate between the different depictions. The Sita which resembles an Indian Betty Boop is the one who sings the blues of Annette Hanshaw, a poorly remembered songstress who sang about love and its sorrows like a nightingale. Her songs can be credited for the inception of this film, largely influencing Nina Paley as they reflected her broken heart. The film?s originality also lies in its narration, told by three Indians who are not reading from a well-prepared script but totally improvising and giving their own take on Sita?s story. It adds freshness and a humor that a traditional script would probably lack. It also provides balance with Hanshaw?s lovely singing before it becomes tiring.
Sita Sings The Blues is overall a conceptual mix of ancient tragedy and modern comedy. We hope that Dave is beating himself over his ex-wife?s success. But then again, the movie couldn?t have been made without him.
September 28, 2009
One of the most strikingly original movies I have ever seen in my life. I was enthralled the entire way through. I laughed out loud, I cried a little, I was entranced by the visuals and thoroughly enjoyed the songs. I'm so glad that this movie is freely available for everyone to see - it's not going to be enjoyed by everyone, but this way anyone who's interested is able to see it. I don't say this often, but I would definitely watch it again. One of the best I've seen this year.
May 18, 2008
I loved the mix of styles and the way bright, detailed imagery was coaxed out of a 2D computer program like Flash. Fantastic music. I'm looking forward to picking up the soundtrack CD someday.