Movie Analysis: Sita Sings the Blues Movie
The film is based on religion and tells the tale of a Hindu Goddess “Sita” who is forced to go to exile in a forest for 14 years after Lord Rama suspects that she has been unfaithful. This takes place after Ravan-Lanka’s ruler-abducts Sita and as the film progresses, other characters, as well as interactions, are developed. According to Rochlin, the movie is “an 82-minute animated feature that combines autobiography with a retelling of the classic Indian myth the Ramayana.” Although it falls under the “Animations” category of movies, the film covers useful Hindu myths through characterization and plot organization. Notably, one does not have to belong to the Hindu religion to watch, learn and enjoy the movie. The production makes use of filming tools such as the narrative technique to present the storyline to the audience. For instance, there is a narrative in the scene where Sita sits under a tree and cries (Paley 25:38). There are several narratives distributed in different scenes as the movie progresses.
Before the narrative that takes place in 25:38 of the movie, the audience views the conflict that arises from the telephone conversation between Nina and Dave. It is evident that Nina is not happy from the phone call after Dave mentions that his contract has been extended from six months and added another year (representing Sita’s exile). In the digression, Nina is sad that Dave will not be coming home; her sadness reflects Sita’s agony, which is probably why she retreats and sits under the tree. From the point where the narrative begins, the character does not talk and the narrator explains the events that follow. From the narrative element, the audience is taken through what goes in Sita’s head as well as her conversation with Ravan. The narrator also mentions other characters in the movie such as the women demons who are amazed by her devotion to Rama (Paley 26:00). The distance between Sita and Rama is killing her and other forces such as the evil people, shows, and movies mentioned by the narrator worsen the situation. The narration plays an important role in expressing her love for Rama including her religious nature where he mentions that she prays to him. Through the narrator, the audience can paint a picture of the high level of confidence that she has where he covers the conversation between Sita and Ravan. It is clear that she despises him and does not appreciate the fact that he takes advantage of the fact that Rama is far away. Ravan is brought out as the villain in the scene as he questions Sita concerning why she loves Rama so much. Covering Ravan’s sentiments, the narrator says, “What can Ranma do for you Blah Blah Blah that I can’t” (Paley 26:08). The mockery tone used by the narrator indicates how disgusted Ravan is by Sita’s love for Rama.
The movie Night of the Hunter reflects children’s imaginative nature by telling a fairytale obscured by complex themes such as religion, death, cruelty, guilt, poverty, and greed. The movie also makes use of the narrative technique seen at the beginning of the movie. The film opens with a female narrative reading a book to three boys and starts by making biblical references. She says, “Now you remember children, how I told you last Sunday about the good Lord…” (The Night of the Hunter 1:28). Similar to “Sita Sings The Blues,” this film also has a narrator and the observable difference is that in this case, the narrator is a woman. The fact that biblical references are made in the narration shows that the movie also addresses the theme of religion. Nevertheless, Night of the Hunter is based on Christianity, unlike the former movie that is based on Hinduism. The narration serves the purpose of introducing other characters similar to the discussed scene in Sita’s story. However, the narrator in the movie’s opening scene does not mention the characters by name and instead serves the purpose of building the audience’s curiosity. Another significant difference between the movies is that the narrative in the former movie is longer compared to the latter. The narration is the first scene in the movie but in the former movie, it takes place some twenty-five minutes into the film.
Laughton, Charles. The Night of the Hunter. Britain: YouTube, 1955. Video. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uF7uscfKrjA
Paley, Nina. Sita Sings The Blues. Paris: YouTube, 2008. Video. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8LvBnz7oRA
Rochlin, Margy. "Nina Paley’s ‘Sita Sings the Blues’ Turns a Hindu Goddess into Betty Boop." The New York Times. N.p., 2009. Web. 15 June 2019.
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