Sita Sings the Blues

Nina Paley’s movie “Sita Sings the Blues” is available now, and it’s fantastic.

sitapostersmall.pngIf you regularly follow Boing, you’ve probably seen their mention of Sita Sings the Blues, an animated film by Nina Paley.

It’s a retelling of the Ramayana with frequent songs by 1920s blues singer Annette Hanshaw, inspired by (and combined with) the story of Paley’s own break-up with her ex-husband. The production and release of the film has had its own share of drama, because of Paley’s difficulty securing music rights and frustration with copyright (hence the frequent Boing Boing mentions).

It’d be a shame if that were allowed to overshadow the movie itself, though, because this is just a wonderful piece of work. It’s beautiful, and astoundingly clever, and imaginative, and sincere without being maudlin, and cute without being frivolous, and full of outstanding music. I’d intended to watch only a few minutes tonight, but I got sucked into my browser and couldn’t stop watching until the hour and a half was up. (And afterwards, I immediately went to the official site to make a donation).

For now, you can watch it streaming at WNET New York’s website. The official site promises more ways to watch it in the future, online and at screenings.