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Cam Bert

Musical Mondays Week 67 Sita Sings the Blues

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Breakups are hard that's why we have sad songs

We watched

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The three narrators for me were the highlight of the movie. I could listen to them just tell me India folklore and myths forever.

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1 hour ago, Cam Bert said:

The three narrators for me were the highlight of the movie. I could listen to them just tell me India folklore and myths forever.

That's how I felt. I strongly considered buying the Ramayana because of this. Those were by far my favorite parts of the movie.

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My favorite part was the music, which even being from such a different time/culture as the Ramayana, matched up so perfectly.

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The only sections I didn't really care much for was the parts with Nina Paley. I can see why she sees connections between her and Sita but everything else was much more interesting. 

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Yea, I said something similar on Letterboxd. Putting herself into it felt really weird to me, and the way she told that part was really basic with no insight or anything. If you were to just tell the Ramayana story with old jazz blues, that would have been just fine, just as creative and original, and probably even more effective of a tale of break-up and timeless emotions. 

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I'm back from vacation now 😁 I haven't had a chance to watch yet, but hope to tonight. It looks really interesting.

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3 hours ago, Cameron H. said:

I'm back from vacation now 😁 I haven't had a chance to watch yet, but hope to tonight. It looks really interesting.

I just want to confirm that a family vacation is more important to you than Musical Mondays?!?!?!?!?! I thought I knew you but I guess not.....

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I really hated the Nina Paley parts. Like I was almost ready to give this movie one star as a result. I get that she wrote it (though I’m pretty sure she just interviewed the narrators) and animated it all which is impressive but her story has no real connection to the Ramayana other than breaking up but still loving the guy. Other than that the links are tenuous at best. The voice acting for her ex-boyfriend was awful. The animation style was very 10oz Mouse. The whole thing just seemed like “this event lead me to the Ramayana” but I just wanted to hear the story of the Ramayana. If there was more information in her story to link to the connections it might have been interesting. The fact the songs line up with the story is much more interesting. 

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1 hour ago, Cam Bert said:

I really hated the Nina Paley parts. Like I was almost ready to give this movie one star as a result. I get that she wrote it (though I’m pretty sure she just interviewed the narrators) and animated it all which is impressive but her story has no real connection to the Ramayana other than breaking up but still loving the guy. Other than that the links are tenuous at best. The voice acting for her ex-boyfriend was awful. The animation style was very 10oz Mouse. The whole thing just seemed like “this event lead me to the Ramayana” but I just wanted to hear the story of the Ramayana. If there was more information in her story to link to the connections it might have been interesting. The fact the songs line up with the story is much more interesting. 

What annoyed me most about Nina's breakup story is it seems to be putting her own breakup on a huge pedestal. She's equating her breakup, which is a pretty big breakup all things considered, to this epic story that takes place over years. It's like comparing one time you went hunting to Beowulf fighting Grendel. You're a bit out of your league.

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54 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

What annoyed me most about Nina's breakup story is it seems to be putting her own breakup on a huge pedestal. She's equating her breakup, which is a pretty big breakup all things considered, to this epic story that takes place over years. It's like comparing one time you went hunting to Beowulf fighting Grendel. You're a bit out of your league.

Yes! It would make a bit more sense if they broke up because of rumors of infidelity or something to tie it more to it. It' more like hearing Beowulf and you be like "Cool, hey I went to a forest once. I might have saw a deer. It was cool." 

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2 hours ago, Cam Bert said:

I really hated the Nina Paley parts. Like I was almost ready to give this movie one star as a result. I get that she wrote it (though I’m pretty sure she just interviewed the narrators) and animated it all which is impressive but her story has no real connection to the Ramayana other than breaking up but still loving the guy. Other than that the links are tenuous at best. The voice acting for her ex-boyfriend was awful. The animation style was very 10oz Mouse. The whole thing just seemed like “this event lead me to the Ramayana” but I just wanted to hear the story of the Ramayana. If there was more information in her story to link to the connections it might have been interesting. The fact the songs line up with the story is much more interesting. 

I agree with this 100%.  

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I just finished and while I agree with what most of you have said, I have to defend the modern bits. First of all, I don’t feel like there was ever supposed to be a direct correlation between Nina and Sita’s stories. I actually feel like tenuous connection between the two stories is reflected in the jittery animation of the Nina sections and how they contrast with the sleek, hard-lined, gloss of the Sita sections. The idea isn’t that their stories directly parallel so much as the themes of feeling out of control of your own life after a nasty breakup is timeless and how we can find comfort in storytelling. So while I enjoyed the three narrators and I LOVED the Sita parts, I don’t feel like they would work as well without the modern context. As charming as the narrators were, they were really just an exposition dump. And as wonderful as the Sita portions were, you would have had to add dialogue to propel the story which would have spoiled the effect.

I don’t feel like Nina was being egotistical. She was finding strength and comfort and wanted to share that with her audience. She wasn’t comparing herself to Sita any more than I compare myself to Frodo when I read Lord of the Rings. You don’t have to literally carry a ring to a necromancer’s evil volcano to relate to the feeling of being forced to carry a burden. It only matters how we interpret the message for ourselves and apply it to our own lives. And if it grants us some measure of solace or wisdom or whatever then that’s absolutely valid. 

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3 hours ago, Cameron H. said:

I just finished and while I agree with what most of you have said, I have to defend the modern bits. First of all, I don’t feel like there was ever supposed to be a direct correlation between Nina and Sita’s stories. I actually feel like tenuous connection between the two stories is reflected in the jittery animation of the Nina sections and how they contrast with the sleek, hard-lined, gloss of the Sita sections. The idea isn’t that their stories directly parallel so much as the themes of feeling out of control of your own life after a nasty breakup is timeless and how we can find comfort in storytelling. So while I enjoyed the three narrators and I LOVED the Sita parts, I don’t feel like they would work as well without the modern context. As charming as the narrators were, they were really just an exposition dump. And as wonderful as the Sita portions were, you would have had to add dialogue to propel the story which would have spoiled the effect.

I don’t feel like Nina was being egotistical. She was finding strength and comfort and wanted to share that with her audience. She wasn’t comparing herself to Sita any more than I compare myself to Frodo when I read Lord of the Rings. You don’t have to literally carry a ring to a necromancer’s evil volcano to relate to the feeling of being forced to carry a burden. It only matters how we interpret the message for ourselves and apply it to our own lives. And if it grants us some measure of solace or wisdom or whatever then that’s absolutely valid. 

I think part of the problem is with the way some of those moments occur. Certain moments in her story come at similar themed or timed moments in Sita's story as well (Sita gets on the flying chariot and Nina gets on a plane, Sita is kidnapped and separated from Rama and Nina's boyfriend leaves to India for work etc.) which to me sort of invites the implication that her story is mirroring Sita's or looking for connections. If the timing was changed around that these events weren't shown happening back to back I think it would read a bit more of her getting something out of the story. To go to a fictional example, The Never Ending Story. Sebastian is bullied and coping with the death of his mother. He gets the book and reads it and through the story he gains the strength and acceptance. Yet the book he reads doesn't parallel his own story. Now, Nina is a real person so she can't help it if actual things that happened to her mirrored events in a story that she found strength and comfort in. In fact, that's probably the reason for her find strength and comfort.  Even if it is just coincidence that similar things happened between her and Sita, when you put those events one after the other there is an implicit "look at the similarities" to it. It is not helped by the fact we don't see until the final image her reading the story, so those parallels are just presented without context appear as just that parallels. 

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4 hours ago, Cameron H. said:

don’t feel like Nina was being egotistical. She was finding strength and comfort and wanted to share that with her audience. She wasn’t comparing herself to Sita any more than I compare myself to Frodo when I read Lord of the Rings. You don’t have to literally carry a ring to a necromancer’s evil volcano to relate to the feeling of being forced to carry a burden. It only matters how we interpret the message for ourselves and apply it to our own lives. And if it grants us some measure of solace or wisdom or whatever then that’s absolutely valid. 

That's true to some extent, I can see the lack of ego point. The difference to me though is that she isn't just reading the Ramayana, like most of us would Lord of the Rings, she's putting herself straight into a retelling. Or at the very least, she's making a movie about reading the Ramayana, I guess -- which is a far weaker dramatic framing than just retelling the Ramayana. That's how her storyline warps the film slightly for me.

I do think that was a big flaw, but I say 'slightly', as I still liked the film a lot, I'll add. It was fun; as fun as a "break-up movie" could be, I guess! lol

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