Nina Paley has created a wonderful animated film called Sita Sings the Blues. This film is the first time a full-length animated feature, rendered entirely by a single artist on her home computer, has been in the Tribeca Film Festival. Fair warning, it’s an hour and 20 minutes long, so put watching it on your to-do list. But do watch it.
She’s adapted the Ramayana, a Sanskrit epic poem based on Hindu mythology, to her own life and the failure of her marriage. The tale is told several times in parallel, using a captivating blend of different animation techniques as well as some real world photography and hand drawn water colors. Interestingly, it’s also a musical. She has blended in song tracks from 1920s blues artist Annette Hanshaw. The result is artistically phenomenal. While watching it, I kept trying to turn it off as part of my brain kept saying that the chick-flick theme of unrequited love wasn’t really my bag. But the music, the animation, the mythology, and even a couple of interesting battle scenes kept drawing me back in. Whatever your bag is, chances are there’s something in here for you.