Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Film Review: Sita sings the Blues

Nina Paley is an American born cartoonist and animator who before her recent work such as Sita sings the Blues, dwelled mostly in comic strips such as Nina's Adventures and Fluff. Judging by Sita sings the Blues, Paley's style reflects her artistic background through the incorporation of the comic strip style that runs throughout the duration of the film. Not only the style is a direct link to Paley's life but the storyline in the film is influenced by a trip she made to India with her then husband and a spiritual journey she went on through reading the Indian epic, the Ramayana. The style of the film is what makes it intriguing. the visual style used is abstract with a variety of animation styles and techniques that depict the same story but in different moods. The narrative style is very conversational and whimsical telling the story through the light-hearted conversation of three Indian shadow puppets. The film also incorporates a musical style into the film breaking into 'blues' type singalongs.

The film through this trio of narrators tells the story of Rama and his wife Sita, covering how they met, Sita's kidnapping their life after this incident and so on. All throughout this, another story is being told alongside. The true story of director Nina Paley's marriage coming to an end but shown in relevance to the ancient mythological story of Rama and Sita. Key characters in the film obviously are Rama and Sita as the story revolves around their relationship but also Nina Paley and her ex-husband as their story was intertwined into the plot.

I felt like with the film, Paley was attempting to depict the ups and downs of relationships and by conveying her relationship side by side with that of an ancient mythical being like Sita, she is attempting to highlight the similarities in these kind of relationships despite the time period or cultural surrounding. As far as the exemplification of relationships, Paley succeeded in doing this with a combination of different animation styles and light-hearted humor to keep the audience intrigued. However, the story she chose to narrate is not one that would interest those who are not open-minded to the message she is attempting to portray. So for this reason I wouldn't personally recommend this film despite feeling that it was well made, the relatability of the film does not favor the masses.

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