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Sita Sings the Blues-Movie Review 02/17/2011

Posted by Films to consider in American, Animated, Indian language film.

Sita Sings the Blues (Indian) 2008
aka “The Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told”

Among other wins and nominations:
Winner, Grand Jury Prize-Narrative Feature, Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles
Winner, Crystal Bear-Special Mention, Berlin International Film Festival
Winner, Best Full-Length Film, Annecy International Animated Film Festival
Winner, Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You, Gotham Awards
Nominated, Someone to Watch Award, Independent Spirit Awards

Directed, written, produced, designed, and animated by Nina Paley

A very unusual retelling of the story of the Hindu goddess Sita from the Indian epic Ramayan, with whimsical animation accompanied by recordings of jazz vocalist Annette Hanshaw made in the 1920s. Somehow Hanshaw’s soulful lyrics perfectly fit what happens in this ancient tale. (Check out the cover of the DVD by clicking below for a sample of the animation style.)

Paley has three narrators explaining and discussing two interwoven versions of the tale, and those in turn are interspersed throughout with a modern-day story of love and heartache (based on Paley’s own life).

The accompanying interview tells about copyright issues surrounding the 1920s recordings by Annette Hanshaw and how Paley found a solution.

82 min. Unrated.



1. JoAnne - 02/17/2011

I love this movie. Did you like it? I was able to see it at a theater on a big screen and the animation was much more nuanced than on the computer where I first watched it. I agree that the Hanshaw songs were a fascinating match…
that’s all!

filmstoconsider - 02/18/2011

I did like it, very much. At first, I thought the animation was a little strange (and it is for the subject matter), but soon I got used to the idea and looked forward to seeing how the story progressed and the next song matched up. I loved Hanshaw’s voice.

The animation must have been even more impressive to see on a big screen. But if you watch it again on DVD, be sure to watch Paley’s interview. Her story and the story behind the film are very interesting. There’s also a short animation that’s very good.

That’s all! 🙂

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