Thursday, November 5, 2009
Free movie: Sita Sings the Blues
If you're a fan of animation AND classic jazz/blues -- and even if you aren't -- I highly recommend taking the time to download and/or watch Nina Paley's clever, full-length animated movie, Sita Sings the Blues. The movie is a bit hard to describe. The story involves parallels the artist has drawn between her own life and the life of Sita of the Ramayana. It's told via an odd combination of 2D animation styles, the Ramayana, and some 1920s blues recordings from jazz great Annette Hanshaw, with some Bhangra tunes thrown in for good measure. In all of cinema history, the movie's closest cousin is probably The Beatles' animated film, Yellow Submarine. Like Yellow Submarine, the animation in Sita Sings the Blues is primarily limited in nature -- but it doesn't matter because here, the STYLE is the thing. The film has earned mostly favorable reviews from the critics who have seen it, including Roger Ebert, who awarded it four out of four stars.
Now, here's where the FREE part comes in: Sita Sings the Blues, unfortunately, is tied up in all sorts of legal and distribution hassles, mostly dealing with very old copyright laws and with attempts by (far-right AND far-left) extremists to censor the film. To bypass the mess and make sure the movie gets to be seen by anyone who wants to see it, Nina Paley has made the movie available for FREE to anyone who wants to download it, burn it onto DVDs, show it publicly, you name it. Mr. Sea and I downloaded a hi-def version of it onto our PlayStation 3 the other night, and it looks as good as any other high-quality animated movie. We've also watched it three times already. Yes, we like it that much. The entire movie is also posted onto YouTube in one huge clip.
For more information about the movie and the artist, please visit Nina Paley's Website at www.sitasingstheblues.com. Support the artist with a donation if you can!