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(VIDEO) SITA SINGS THE BLUES – by Nina Paley


Directed by Nina Paley

Using a variety of colorful animation techniques, writer-director Nina Paley wittily interweaves the story of Sita, the leading lady of the ancient Sanskrit epic Ramayana, with the story of a modern American woman struggling to keep her marriage afloat.

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Nina Paley’s Sita Sings the Blues is a strange and beautiful little film, a potentially wispy slice of autobiography smartly elevated through irresistible, orgiastic style. The 82 minute feature cross cuts between the story of the director’s own divorce, and a loose retelling of the ancient Indian myth Ramayana; we’re led back and forth between the two milieu by three silhouetted figures who colloquially comment on the events in Indian-inflected English. There are also musical numbers, set mainly to songs by 1920s jazz siren Annette Hanshaw, which drop psychedelic Bollywood versions of the Ramayana characters into Busby Berkeley configurations. It’s an infectiously personal work, and all the more admirable as a sterling example of animation meant resolutely for adults.