An American Editor

April 8, 2011

A Musical Interlude: Sita Sings the Blues

Filed under: A Musical Interlude — americaneditor @ 5:02 am
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Sometimes one finds a real gem of animation, a video that sticks with you over the months and years. Sita Sings the Blues was originally released in 2008 and it still captures my imagination. Beautiful music, beautiful animation.

Sita Sings the Blues is a true full-length video that runs 82 minutes — yet every minute is outstanding. I have, on occasion, simply let the movie run in the background so that I could listen to the music while working. I have watched the video a couple of times.

Wikipedia summarizes the tale on which Sita Sings the Blues is based as follows:

The Ramayana

The film uses a pared-down adaptation of the legend that retains many of its finer details while adopting a perspective sympathetic towards Sita; in the director’s words, the film is “a tale of truth, justice and a woman’s cry for equal treatment.”

The plot joins the legend at the exile of prince Rama from his father’s court, at the behest of his father’s favorite queen, Kaikeyi. Having earned the right to any single favor by saving the king’s life, Kaikeyi attempts to secure her own son’s inheritance over the eldest and favorite, Rama, by ordering him banished from the court. Sita determines to accompany her beloved husband, although the woods are dangerous and over-run with demons and evil spirits. The demon king Ravana, encouraged by his spiteful ogress sister, hears of Sita’s beauty and determines to kidnap her. He sends a golden hind past their dwelling to distract Rama, who tries to impress Sita by hunting the hind into the woods. In his absence, Ravana abducts Sita and demands that she submit to him on pain of death. Sita remains staunchly devoted to Rama and refuses to entertain the idea; Ravana sets a deadline for the ultimatum and Sita waits faithfully for Rama to rescue her.

Aided by the monkey prince Hanuman, Rama eventually discovers Sita’s location and brings the monkey army to assist in her rescue. Ravana is slain and Sita restored to her husband, although he expresses serious doubts concerning her fidelity during her confinement. She submits to a trial by fire, a test of her purity; upon throwing herself into the flames, she is immediately rescued by the gods, who all proclaim her devotion and fidelity.

She accompanies Rama back to the palace, and soon falls pregnant. Lingering doubts still play on Rama’s mind, however, and after overhearing one of his subjects beating and ejecting an unfaithful consort (claiming he is no Rama to accept and forgive her unfaithfulness), he orders his reluctant brother Lakshman to abandon Sita in the forest. In the company of ascetics she gives birth to her sons and raises them to love and praise their absent father. Years later, Rama overhears their hymns of adoration to their father and locates their dwelling. Distressed and disappointed by her reunion with Rama, Sita prays to the earth to swallow her as final proof of her purity and devotion and the prayer is duly answered, despite the pleas of Rama and Lakshman.

The official website for the movie is http://sitasingstheblues.com/watch.html. At the website, you can download high definition versions. I recommend going to the website and clicking the 1080p HD version to play the video on your desktop via QuickTime or Windows Media.

For your immediate viewing and listening pleasure, here is Sita Sings the Blues in low definition from YouTube.

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