Tuesday 3 March 2009

Sita sings the blues

I watched this a couple of days ago and it soothed my soul and the world caught fire. It's a full length animated film available in full, for free, here. It has been created from the mind and heart of Nina Paley, and she has woven some profound human archetypes, stories that resonate again and again in our lives, into this fabric of her own story, using the songs of Annette Hanshaw and the classic Hindu story of the Ramayana. It is wonderful, and profound and funny and gorgeous. It made me cry and it made me hot.

Nina moved from San Francisco to India to follow her husband, who had taken a job there. What she found when she went after him was coldness and withdrawal, leading to him dumping her by email while she was in New York for a meeting. Unable to move back to San Francisco, and with her marriage in tatters, she took a flat in Brooklyn and grieved. And five years later, she gave us this.

She has released it openly, on a creative commons license, available for anyone who wants to download it, and it is also streaming freely online. She has written about how important it is to her that stories and music that she found in the public domain be released back to that domain without restriction. And so she is now in a position of having to buy herself 'out of copyright prison', in other words pay the holders of the copyright to the songs used in the movie, $50,000 for their use, even though the songs were written over 80 years ago. If you are moved, this is how you can help her on her way.

This movie tells Sita's story so beautifully and elegantly and with such truth, accuracy and insight. What a gift.


  1. That peacock Victrola did it for me. I'm going to set aside an hour-and-twenty for this. Thank you.

  2. I can't wait to hear what you thought of it, Sheila.

  3. Gonna download for watching in the wee wee hours.

  4. It is so fucking worth it, Sheila. I found this film moving in the way that I found The Temple of my Familiar moving, the way I found Women Who Run With The Wolves moving. Reaching into some archetypal place and saying, now so.