Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tribeca Film Fest - Friday, April 25

This evening I saw my first film of TFF 2008, Sita Sings the Blues, by Nina Paley. It was a very cool animated feature about the story of Sita and Rama. The story was told in four different ways, with a variety of styles of animation.

The basic story of Sita is that she was kidnapped by an evil king from the forest where she lived with her husband, Rama. She was so tremendously devoted to Rama, and he came to rescue her, but then he decided that maybe her purity had been compromised. She proved her devotion to him, and they returned to the kingdom, but then his people were dubious and he banished her, despite the fact that she was pregnant with his twin sons. Through all this, she remained loving and devoted to her husband.

So, the most traditional telling of the story was told in two styles of animation - one painted, and one a sort of stop-motion looking style done with postcard images of the characters.

This was intertwined with a more casual, improvised discussion of the story by three "shadow puppets", and segments where blues songs from the late 1920s were used to show another side of the story. The fourth element, woven throughout the film, is the tale of the animator herself, who was living in India with her husband when she returned to New York for a business meeting and he dumped her by email.

It was beautiful, funny, and kind of brilliant.

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