creator:nina paley

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Here’s a youtube freebie, Sita Sings the Blues by Nina Paley.Although it has inspired a lot of controversy this is still an interesting portrayal of the Hindu sacred text, the Ramayana. This film focuses on the female protagonist of the text, Sita. She is meant to be an example of the ideal wife, but as the movie points out there are a couple of problems with her as a model. To go along with this story is a contemporary example of wife hood taken from the writers own life. 

Artistically this movie is amazing. It combines traditional forms of Indian painting and entertainment with contemporary forms of animation. To top it all off the film has several songs from blues artist Annette Hanshaw. 

Although I agree that the artist took liberties in how she represented an entire culture and a sacred text, the film still makes you feel good about yourself. It’s a work of art. 

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Nina did Q&As and went to open panels, including a Ted talk you can see above, where she discussed her stories and issues dealing with the music copyrights towards the end of Sita Sings the Blues.

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This animation ‘This Land Is Mine’ by Nina Paley ('Sita Sings the Blues’) on the land known as Israel/Palestine/Canaan/Levant is really interesting.

I can’t vouch for the historical accuracy because there’s a lot of history in here but… just watch.

Tonight when I got up, I had the amazing pleasure of finally watching Sita Sings The Blues!  And if you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to.  Because it’s great!

It’s a movie written, directed, produced, animated, edited, all by one woman, Nina Paley.  (My dream is to do that!  Make my own film like that, all on my own!)  It was just on some random channel on TV, and I felt so lucky to find it!  My teachers had shown some of it to me when I was in college for animation, and I remember being in awe of one person taking on a whole film.  That’s inspiring in itself, and that it’s so wonderful with beautiful animation and everything just makes it a sight to behold!

But even more than that, it touched me so deeply because her story, Sita’s and the concurrent story line of Nina’s personal story in the film is SO reminiscent of MINE.  Of loving a man, doing everything for him, and yet he goes away, says he’ll come back and when he does, it’s only to say “I never want to see you again”.  And then, the power to come back from that hell and live again.

I’ve been left by 2 men now, but the last one especially fits the story.  The guy who leaves on a plane, and months later comes back just to excise you from his life.  And he wasn’t even a good guy in the first place!  It’s just so similar to the film, I was in AWE.  I think a lot of people will see this movie, love it, love the animation and story, but only people like me, who have literally had the very storyline HAPPEN to them will feel this connection to it.

And it gave me hope too!  How she came back from it all, from the fire, and made a film that has been loved AROUND THE WORLD.  It’s amazing.  

Recently, Nina Paley, after having issues with parts of the film (music) that she thought had been totally in the public domain, decided to make the film 100% and public domain itself.  I think it’s incredibly kind and honorable for her to do it, although I wish she could still make money off it!  But it’s out there to see, free, now.  And it’s WONDERFUL.  You should see it, because it’s a great film.  And this woman is now my personal hero.

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Who’s That Knockin’ at My Door from Sita Sings the Blues

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Nina Paley is a brilliant filmmaker who, if you ever saw it, came to my friends’ and my attention with a great short film called “Sita Sings the Blues,” a modern re-telling of an excerpt from the Hindu romance of Rama and Sita. 

This short is something else again, a rapid-but-thorough depiction of the history of the chunk of land between Jordan and the Mediterranean.  The song is the theme song to the Sixties movie “Exodus,” about the creation of the state of Israel.

Enjoy! (If it doesn’t hurt too much.)

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This Land is Mine - Nina Paley

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Nina Paley’s “All Creative Work is Derivative.”  Brill animation using statues from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I challenge you to not start grooving like Parvati the next time you’re strolling down the Met’s stately galleries.