A few months back we read an over-the-top rave for a tiny movie called Sita Sings the Blues that inspired us to email filmmaker for a screener. Our expectations had been set pretty high by good ol’ Roger Ebert:
“I am enchanted. I am swept away. I am smiling from one end of the film to the other. It is astonishingly original. It brings together four entirely separate elements and combines them into a great whimsical chord. You might think my attention would flag while watching An animated version of the epic Indian tale of Ramayana set to the 1920’s jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw. Quite the opposite. It quickens.”
When the the disc arrived, we perversely dreaded watching the 82-minute film; in fact, we tossed it aside, hoping to let our internal buildup die down. This was right around the time when Ebert was in hot water for walking out of Tru Loved, so the fact that he was heaping praise on an animated film we’d never heard of before was a big deal. But then we stumbled on a post on Boing Boing about how Sita would never be shown publicly because of licensing costs. We felt like we were running out of time!
So we finally watched Sita, and it was brilliant and unique (the plot is semi-autobiographical, juxtaposing Nina Paley’s divorce with the romantic saga of Sita and Rama from the Ramayana), and all those nice things Ebert had said. And we weren’t the only two people to feel that way — it went on to become a darling of the festival circuit and win the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You award at last year’s Gotham Awards. And now, lucky for you, Sita Sings the Blues is streaming for free online.
Watch it this weekend (we’ve embedded a trailer below!) and leave us a mini-review in the comments if you get a chance. Congrats to Nina Paley for finding a way to get her fantastic work seen by more eyes.