Film Review: Sita Sings the Blues (2008)

Fig 1. Sita Sings the Blues Poster

Sita Sings the Blues (2008) is an animated film that was written, directed, produced and animated by Nina Paley. An American cartoonist, animator and culture activist. Along with doing Sita Sings the Blues she is also the artist and sometimes writer of the comic strips Nina's Adventures and Fluff. But recently she has manly done work for animations.

Sita Sings the Blues intersperses events from Ramayana, a light hearted but knowledgeable discussion of historical events by a trio of Indian shadow puppets. The film also includes musical numbers and scenes from the artists own life. The ancient and modern plot that are parallel tales, sharing many themes.

Fig 2.
Sita, the main character, is given to Prince Rama in marriage after Rama beats the other princely suitors for her hand. Rama is then appointed crown prince, but then falls victim to a plot that sends him into banishment for fourteen years. Sita accompanies her husband, but she is then abducted shortly afterwards.
With the aid of friendly gods, Rama sets off in pursuit and, following a dangerous struggle, succeeds in freeing her. Rama and Sita return to their home where Rama is made king. But soon after this Rama begins to doubt his wife's fidelity and casts her out. Sita undergoes a fire test to prove her steadfastness, survives unscathed and returns to Rama.

Sita Sings the Blues features different art styles, each parallel segment having its own style, each doing it’s best to make it far more interesting then the last.
The film is made up of as if its pieces of collage of the Indian culture and makes the film its own. The constant back and forth between the fragments of the directors life and Sita's makes the film feel like its made up several different animations, which can be confusing at first, but has some sort of charm to it.

Illustration List:

Figure 1.

Figure 2.


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