Watch Movie Online Free: Sita Sings the Blues
“Sita Sings the Blues” is based on the Hindu epic “The Ramayana”.
Sita is a goddess separated from her beloved Lord and husband Rama. Nina Paley is an animator whose husband moves to India, then dumps her by email.
Three hilarious shadow puppets narrate both ancient tragedy and modern comedy in this beautifully animated interpretation of the Ramayana.
Set to the 1920’s jazz vocals of torch singer Annette Hanshaw, Sita Sings the Blues earns its tagline as “the Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told.”
The songs are original late 20’s recordings by Annette Hanshaw accompanied by the likes of Red Nichols, the Dorsey Brothers, Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang
The movie is written, directed, produced and animated by American artist Nina Paley.
“Sita Sings the Blues” was released in 2008 only after long negotiations with the copyright holders of the 80-year-old songs recorded by Annette Hanshaw.
Following the experience of almost having her film blocked from distribution, Nina Paley released it freely under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, and now devotes a significant portion of her time to free culture activism.
She is Artist in Residence at the non-profit Question Copyright.org.
If you’d like to help pay off the $50,000.00 loan she took out to pay the music monopoly fee, you can donate to the Sita Distribution Project (tax-deductible in the US) at https://questioncopyright.org/sita-distribution-project#donate
Donations to that project go exclusively to that purpose and other expenses Nina incurred in releasing the film.
For more about how retroactive copyright restrictions almost prevented the release of the film, see this interview with Nina Paley: https://questioncopyright.org/nina-paley-sita-interview
For more information about QuestionCopyright.org and its projects, please see our web site: http://questioncopyright.org .
QuestionCopyright.org is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and donations are fully tax-deductable to the extent permitted by law.
For more about the film and about Nina Paley’s other work, see http://sitasingstheblues.com .
Review by Roger Ebert:
She begins with the story of Ramayana, which is known to every school child in India but not to me. It tells of a brave, noble woman who was made to suffer because of the foibles of an impetuous husband and his mother. Paley depicts this story with exuberant drawings in bright colors. It is about a prince named Rama who treated Sita unfairly, although she loved him and was faithful to him. There is more to it than that, involving a monkey army, a lustful king who occasionally grows 10 heads, synchronized birds, a chorus line of gurus, and a tap-dancing moon.
It coils around and around, as Indian epic tales are known to do. Even the Indians can’t always figure them out. In addition to her characters talking, Paley adds a hilarious level of narration: Three voice-over modern Indians, Desis, ad-libbing as they try to get the story straight. Was Sita wearing jewelry or not? How long was she a prisoner in exile? How did the rescue monkey come into the picture? These voices are as funny as an SNL skit, and the Indian accent gives them charm: “What a challenge, these stories!”
Sita, the heroine, reminds me a little of the immortal Betty Boop, but her singing voice is sexier. Paley synchs her life story and singing and dancing with recordings of the American jazz singer Annette Hanshaw (1901-1985), a big star in the 1920s and 1930s who was known as “The Personality Girl.” Sita lived around 1000 BCE, a date which inspires lively debate among the three Indians discussing her. When her husband outrageously accuses her of adultery and kicks her on top of a flaming pyre, we know exactly how she feels when Annette Hanshaw sings her big hit, “Mean to Me.”