Rama, Sita, and Me: Nina Paley
Over a span of five years, animator and filmmaker Nina Paley journeyed from grief to unexpected blessings with the help of a couple of Hindu gods. The result, in 2007, was a 90-minute animated film, Sita Sings the Blues, which re-tells a portion of the 3000 year old story of the Ramayana.
The film is part biography, part musical, and part Bollywood epic. It focuses on the tragedy of Sita, a faithful wife of Rama who is kidnapped and then spurned by her husband after her rescue. In the saga of Sita, Paley found parallels to her own dissolving marriage and heartache.
"It talks about this in the Ramayana itself," Paley explains. "The gods like the story of the Ramayana so much that they keep using people - including me - to tell it over and over again. So I thought, I'll just make the gods a movie. Then they can hit rewind and replay if they want to see it again, and I myself will not have to be living with this drama over and over."
Paley's gamble worked. By the time she was finished making Sita, five years later, she was past her grief, and her life had new possibilities and new trajectories. Today, Paley continues her work as an animator and cartoonist. She lectures often about copyright issues (as a result of her difficulties securing the rights to use the music of Annette Hanshaw - listen to the extra audio for details), and produces a regular web-based comic strip, Mimi and Eunice.
You can find out more information about Sita Sings the Blues here, and you can watch the full-length feature in the window below.
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