Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sita sings the blues

by Angie D.

How would a recently-dumped comic strip artist rewrite an ancient Hindu epic in which a chaste and devoted wife must kill herself to prove her loyalty (after being kidnapped by a ten-headed demon king)? Through a multimedia, jazz-inspired, feature-length cartoon rife with sarcasm and full of female empowerment of course.

Sita Sings the Blues is the masterpiece of Nina Paley, an American seeking catharsis after her husband (whom she followed to India for his career) ended their marriage via email. Paley incurred $20,000 worth of debt and transformed her home and life into a one-person production studio to bring her retelling of the Goddess Sita’s (and the artist Nina’s) story to life.

While I probably won’t make it to any of the film festivals where the cartoon is winning hearts and critical acclaim, I plan to watch the movie on my laptop, from the comfort of my dorm room. That’s right; Paley has made her film freely available online here. According to a New York Times article, Paley’s priority is just allowing people to see the film. Presumably, getting justice for Sita (and possibly for herself) is more important than profit.


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