Screening of Nina Paley’s Sita Sings the Blues – May 26, 2015

SitaRita Banerjee will introduce and lead the discussion for Nina Paley’s 2008 film, Sita Sings the Blues, on Tuesday, May 26 from 6-8:30 pm for the Institute for Indology and Tibetology at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.  The screening will take place in Seminar Room 427 (Ludwigstr. 31, Munich).  The screening is part of the course Modernity and the South Asian Imaginaire at LMU.  Anyone interested in Modern South Asian literature, history, or art house film is welcomed to join the screening. “[The Rāmāyaṇa’s] hero is the blue-skinned Rama, avatar of the deity Vishnu, but Ms. Paley is more interested in Sita, his wife, whose devotion becomes both a romantic inspiration and a feminist cautionary tale [in Sita Sings the Blues]. Her adventures are narrated by three shadow puppets who speak in the accents of modern Indian English and who quibble over details and interpretations. Meanwhile, Sita, Rama and other characters from the Rāmāyaṇa are rendered in various styles, including a “Betty Boop Goes Bollywood” look for the musical numbers and an illuminated-manuscript manner for the dramatic scenes. All of this is entwined with the simpler, sadder, more drably drawn chronicle of a woman named Nina, whose longtime boyfriend, Dave, takes a job in India and eventually breaks her heart. This is a stripped-down, modernized variation on what happens to Sita, whose absolute love for Rama is repaid with suspicion, a humiliating trial by fire (to test her purity) and banishment.” – A.O. Scott, The New York Times


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