We watched Sita Sings the Blues last night and I'm happy to report that it lived up to the hype*. It's the story of an Indian Princess and her complicated relationship with her husband. And it's also the story of a modern woman named Nina, the same as the writer/director/animator Nina Paley, and her complicated relationship with her husband. It's also told in about six different styles, one of which is a very busty cartoon Sita who sings the songs of Annette Hanshaw. One of the "recommended reading"s listed at the end of the movie (yes, a cartoon with a bibliography) is Many Ramayanas: The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia, gives a clue to the "the stories don't always add up and that's ok" approach that seems to be going on. And the music's great and the monkeys are cute.
Beyond the artistic experimentation of the film, Paley is exploring new financial realms. The Annette Hanshaw songs are still under copyright protection and Paley has determined that, even after clearing the songs, she can't afford to sell the film. So she's giving it away. She's spent $50,000 to 'decriminalize' the use of the songs and every copy of the film will be given away, to avoid triggering the 'per-sale' provisions of her agreements with the copyright holders. (She does, however, accept donations.) The movie is already available from Archive.org and in a torrent. I also have the 1.4 GB 480p version, if you're physically accessible to me and you'd like me to hand you a copy.
FuzzyCo grade: A
* For me. Erica was not quite as enthralled as I, but she has her own blog if she wants to weigh in.