The indie animated sensation blends ’20s jazz music from Annette Hanshaw, the writer/director/animator Nina Paley’s autobiographical story of divorce, and the complicated saga of Sita and Rama from the Ramayana. It’s a brisk 82 minutes, covering everything from a monkeyman army to getting dumped by e-mail, and the inventively stylish animation manages to be both evocative and lovely.
Sita Sings the Blues has been a festival darling, but the licensing fees for Hanshaw’s music have been prohibitively expensive, essentially ruining the film’s chance of distribution. But copyright law is a many-headed beast, so public television stations can air the film without violating it – which is how Sita is going to find its widest audience, starting with New York–area airings next month.
Whatever the eyeball equivalent of “nom nom nom” is pretty much sums up how I feel about this movie. I was ensorcelled.