7.7/10
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40 user 63 critic

Sita Sings the Blues (2008)

An animated version of the epic Indian tale of Ramayana set to the 1920s jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw.

Director:

Nina Paley

Writers:

Nina Paley, Valmiki (book)

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7 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Annette Hanshaw Annette Hanshaw ... Sita (singing) (archive sound)
Aseem Chhabra Aseem Chhabra ... Narrator - Shadow Puppet 1 (voice)
Bhavana Nagulapally Bhavana Nagulapally ... Narrator - Shadow Puppet 2 (voice)
Manish Acharya Manish Acharya ... Narrator - Shadow Puppet 3 (voice)
Reena Shah ... Sita (voice)
Sanjiv Jhaveri Sanjiv Jhaveri ... Dave / Dasharatha / Ravana / Dhobi / Valmiki (voice)
Pooja Kumar ... Surphanaka (voice)
Debargo Sanyal ... Rama (voice)
Aladdin Ullah Aladdin Ullah ... Mareecha / Hanuman (voice)
Nitya Vidyasagar ... Luv / Kush (voice)
Nina Paley Nina Paley ... Nina (voice)
Deepti Gupta ... Kaikeyi (voice)
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Storyline

The movie is about Sita, the Hindu Goddess from the epic "The Ramayana", who accompanies Lord Rama on a 14 year exile in forest. Sita is abducted by Ravana, the ruler of Lanka. This movie tells the story of Rama and Sita, along-with a biographical account of the director's relationship with her husband. Written by pulkitanand

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told.


Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 August 2009 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

I sita tragoudaei ta blues See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The intermission in the movie is a tribute to Bollywood, the Indian Film Industry. See more »

Goofs

The musicians are shown playing with the left and right hands reversed. The clarinet, like all woodwinds, is played with the left hand at the top. The violin is held with the left hand and bowed with the right. But in the movie, the clarinet player has the right hand at the top, and the violin is held with the right and bowed with the left. See more »

Quotes

Narrator - Shadow Puppet 3: [as Sita] Rama will come here, and you still have one last chance, because once he comes here... You know... Your ass is grass.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Sita Body Double - Ducky Sherwood Beloved Cult Leader - Mike Caprio Temple Construction Supervisor - Thomas Matthew Swain Kitty Trainer - Ari Kangas Duck Wrangler - Duck Studios Chameleon Handler - Elizabeth Paley See more »

Connections

Edited into Subconscious Password (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Bom Shankar
By MASALADOSA
From the album "Chill Aum"
(C)Pierre-Jean & Bruce Duffour
(P)Masaladosa 2004
Monkey Business Publishing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
the best animated musical of the decade... sorta
30 December 2009 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

Nina Paley is the kind of filmmaker that makes the auteur theory look dated. This isn't a case of a director putting her vision on the screen via a crew of technicians and a cast of actors. This IS her vision, down to all of the designs and animation, which she did over the course of five years (a dedication of time that recalls a director like David Lynch on Eraserhead or Inland Empire). It was all done on computer- reportedly only one intern helped animate some of a battle sequence- and it's being presented for free on the website for Sita Sings the Blues. And yet, if you have a chance (as I had) to see it on the big screen, it's one of the events of the year if you love animation and daring in film-making.

It's a personal story of Paley's break-up with her boyfriend (who did it, savagely, over email), and put into a context of the story of the Ramayana, an ancient Indian story about a woman, Sita, and her bond with the blue-skinned Rama over a lifetime. At the same time Paley uses animation and music and documentary and the free-wheeling expression of cinema to make it unconventional. We see Indian drawing figures ala Monty Python animation discussing story points as they go along, which name is who's and what detail really happened, etc. And then there are musical segments put to Annette Hanshaw, a 1920's jazz singer, to illustrate Sita's journey through the turbulent ups and downs of romance.

Sita Sings the Blues is joyous entertainment. One can tell that Paley was exorcising some past strife, namely from her own break-up that we see in the film in a scraggly Dr. Katz style of animation, but what's most striking is how it's tragedy is never ever a downer. On the contrary this is a comedy in a fresh sense, where the absurdity keeps coming in little unexpected ways, like with the figures of the monkeys in battle, or how the discussing members talk over the details of the Sita cast members. And the musical numbers are just about the best one has seen all decade (which goes without saying the lack of competition, but still), as we see Sita sing her feelings and thoughts, sometimes in happiness and sometimes totally down in the dumps (re: her pregnancy and abandonment after being rescued).

There's a complex web of emotions that Paley navigates through, and she does it so confidently that it's hard not to marvel at her achievements here. It's an independent film in the best sense of the word, the truest sense, uncompromised by studio interference or for any kind of 'demographic'. It's a dark comic feminist musical fable that includes an intermission, a cast of hundreds (animated, not voiced), and it strikes up your heartstrings in the best possible ways. It's a post-modern breakthrough, and I can't wait to revisit it, oh, right about now I would say.


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