Fig. 1. Sita Sings the Blues poster.
Sita Sings the Blues (2008) is an animated film created by Nina Paley that amazingly she made by herself, an impressive accomplishment that would have been a lot of work. It is quite clear that the film is made by one person with the repetitive animation that happens throughout the film; however Paley does an excellent job at creating an eclectic animation that has broad style changes throughout.
Fig. 2. Sita still.
The story was very interesting as it told two stories juxtaposed that ended in a similar fashion. One side of the story is about the Ramayana, it focuses on the story of Rama and Sita which is broadly a story about love and relationship issues. One second Rama and Sita are happy and in love, the next she is being kidnapped and then questioned about her purity, while all of this is taking place the second story mirrors it in the modern day, interestingly the second story is about Paley and her failed relationship. The personal touch really feels strong throughout this story and the use of comparing her relationship troubles to Rama and Sita seems like a very intelligent decision. The film story does a lot of work to keep you interested, the narrators discussing the story with each other and having slightly different versions really does make the film feel more personal and in a sense quite comical.
Fig. 3. Manuscript style still.
The styles change vastly throughout the film, when the film becomes a musical the characters look extremely influenced by Betty Boop, they become very cartoony and quite funny to look at. When it gets a bit more dramatic and the scenes become more serious it changes to an manuscript painting style, which makes it feel more like an adaptation of the Ramayana in an informative way, however this doesn’t appear to be the case as the story seems to be a way of expressing her troubled relationship. In the modern day Paley used a lot of collage which to me seems like another intelligent decision, she separates the scenes with different styles so you know what is happening, how to feel and what to expect. The only downside is that it could possibly be seen as a bit un-immersive as the constant change to style breaks the film up a bit.
The film can feel a little repetitive in times, for example the songs start to become a bit of a chore to listen to and some of the animation is very repetitive which is completely understandable as it was all created by one person. This is the only real negative point as watching the same animation over and over can be quite draining, for the most part however it wasn’t too bad.
Overall I enjoyed the film, I felt like it did drag on a bit after a few of the musical numbers however the overall impression was good. The narrators offered a lot of comic release and I found it quite funny when they were discussing the story each giving different versions and names, their opinion about the events was also a very nice touch that made it feel very personal. I liked the eclectic nature of the film and thought that it was very clever and precise in executing it, the story was good and it definitely help hold the film together.
Figure 1. Sita Sings the Blues poster. (2008) From: Sita Sings the Blues, Directed by: Nina Paley [Film still] At: http://sitasingstheblues.com/SitaEPressKit/SitaPosterAgniA2.png (Accessed 28/01/2016)
Figure 2. Sita still. (2008) From: Sita Sings the Blues, Directed by: Nina Paley [Film still] At: https://cultureatkamelia.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/sita1.png (Accessed 28/01/2016)
Figure 3. Manuscript style still. (2008) From: Sita Sings the Blues, Directed by: Nina Paley [Film still] At: http://sitasingstheblues.com/SitaEPressKit/BhavanaSitaContaminated.jpg (Accessed 28/01/2016)