Sita Sings the Blues

Sita Sings the Blues is an 82 minute short film written, produced and animated by Nina Paley. With a Jazz vocal soundtrack and more film festival nods than you can shake a stick at, the film is an extremely impressive achievement and says a lot about how much modern production software can allow one person to realize a vision on their own without going through the traditional channels.

With the exception of less than a single scene, Nina Paley wrote, directed, and animated the entire film herself. She weaves together different narratives and styles to tell “the greatest breakup story ever told.” Parallel episodes from the animator’s own breakup story and the Indian epic The Ramayana are interspersed with musical numbers and discourse on the epic, the different threads each distinguished by their own specific and coherent art style. I am not actually a huge fan of the art of the film, but I am amazed at what Paley has accomplished and how well it all hangs together.

Mark Mayerson, Michael Sporn and others have noted that Sita is now available online in its entirety. A wide-scale DVD release is hampered by copyright issues involving the music—the songs are public domain, but syncing the animation to them apparently infringes upon a still-valid copyright on the composition itself, so watch it while you can. The film is also to be made available for download at higher resolutions in early March.

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