Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Sita Sings The Blues | India | Film Review


Sita Sings The Blues is an animated feature that received a global release in 2008, amongst copyright issues and other licensing problems the film had its fair share of drama whilst initially being delivered to audiences across the world. The film is written and directed by Nina Paley, a creative who has worked in the majority of areas that are present in the film making pipeline, and tells the ancient story that derives from the Ramayana, a tale that is extremely well known across India.

Fig 1: Movie Poster, Sita Sings The Blues

India as a filmmaking country obviously has large ties to the Bollywood industry, an area of film that tends to have its own tropes and traditions when it comes to telling stories. Bollywood as film movement is extremely focused on depicting events and tales through the medium of dance and big performances, something that Sita Sings The Blues certainly also holds close to its core values, meaning that many events throughout the film are first described and then performed in a more dramatic manner via the characters of the story.

As a creative mind, Nina Paley has worked in a number of different areas of film and other methods of storytelling, not only writing and directing Sita Sings The Blues but also animating the entire production herself, an accolade that not many other filmmakers can boast. It seems that the fact that this film is an almost independently run production has had an effect on its visual style  
also, as the film itself flips through a number of different animation styles, possibly due to the fact that Paley was conscious of producing an outcome that was solely formed in one persons mind, resulting in a film that attempts to please a number of different audiences in fear of being too self indulgent.

Fig 2: Screenshot, Sita Sings The Blues

The story itself revolves around Sita and her prince husband Rama, as he is exiled from his royal home and forced into the wilderness with his partner. After a short time living together amongst nature, Sita is captured and held hostage, meaning that Rama must become a hero and rescue his dearest. After the rescue of Sita, Rama soon begins to have doubts as his wife has fallen pregnant and he is unsure of the heritage of the child, after his doubt grows too strong he banishes his pregnant wife to the forest whilst expecting a child. After Sita has given birth to her children Rama discovers his children in the forest with their mother, however Sita demands another trial and the personification of mother nature takes her soul, leaving Rama wishing he hadn't been so cruel. It seems that the entire film actually exists to educate an audience, as not many viewers outside of India may be aware of the ancient tale, something that not many films take into account during production, possibly becoming a factor in the films almighty positive reception.

Fig 3: Screenshot, Sita Sings The Blues

The film is noticeably of Indian heritage and prides itself on it, the colours are extremely bold throughout the entire tale and the designs resemble a style and distinct aesthetic that audiences will instantly connect to its Indian background. Something that also helps make this film what it is resides inside the narration that runs through the entire story, as Indian voice actors discuss the different adaptations and versions of the story that they're explaining, giving the film an element of humor and familiarity that has helped audiences appreciate that remotely foreign story.

What Paley has managed to create in this solo voyage is something that audiences not only understand, but hold a dear level of appreciation for, a story that viewers all over the world can invest in and enjoy despite the fact that it could of concluded in an extremely foreign pulse. Sita Sings The Blues is an extremely charming tale told through a number of different animation techniques and styles, resulting in a film that can be adored for years to come, whilst simultaneously educating a variety of audiences. 


Illustration

Fig 1: Movie Poster, Sita Sings The Blues, https://www.amazon.com/Sita-Sings-Blues-Annette-Hanshaw/dp/B002G50002, Accessed on: 14.02.17

Fig 2: Screenshot, Sita Sings The Blues, http://www.sitasingstheblues.com/watch.html, Accessed on: 14.02.17

Fig 3: Screenshot, Sita Sings The Blues, http://www.shadowdistribution.com/sita-sings-the-blues/, Accessed on: 14.02.17 

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