Post by Mark T. Locker
Last night while channel surfing, I happened across a very interesting cartoon. It was three Indian shadow puppets discussing the Indian epic tale, the Ramayana. I was quickly hooked on Sita Sings the Blues which is truly unlike any other movie, much less cartoon, that I’ve seen. A mix of old jazz, even older Indian myth, and a modern story of heartbreak, this movie is an unlikely mish-mash that somehow works perfectly.
The shadow puppets discuss, as three regular folk might, the story of the Ramayana, about the ruler Rama and his wife Sita. This take on the ancient story is focused not on Rama but Sita, her trials and sorrows and joys. Interspersed with the dialogue about the story are musical numbers in which Sita sings the music of 1920’s jazz singer Annette Hanshaw. It sounds like a stretch, but it works incredibly well. So well that it’s hard to believe they weren’t intended to be together. The third, and least prevalent, part of the movie is bits about the creator’s own experiences of love and betrayal in India. But these parts, although illustrating how she came to make this feature, don’t hold a candle to the rest of this movie.
I love finding something while channel surfing and being so captivated that I watch the whole 90 minutes. What’s best is that Nina Paley has made her movie freely available on her website. So go look it up and watch it on your laptop in bed tonight!