Sunday, May 10, 2009

We just couldn't say goodbye

Hello, beloved blog readers.

It's been a long time since I Recommended Things at you. My apologies. This semester thing came up. Or rather, it ended, in the ungraceful way it usually does. I've actually been done since Wednesday, but all I have been capable of is staring at my ceiling (it's. so. fascinating) and attempting to respond to hostile emails from students.

But, where do you, beloved blog readers, fit into all of this?

Luckily, I did not work efficiently on my papers. I scoured the Internet and netflix & my DVD collection to procrastinate in the most efficient way possible. I experienced MEDIA! Therefore, I have a slew of new things to recommend to you!

Today's recommendation is Sita Sings the Blues (2008, Nina Paley). I belong to a colloquium about documentaries, and one participant raved about this film (which is not a documentary). I barely noticed that you could watch it on Thirteen until I was looking for ways to not work for 90 minutes or so a few weekends ago. I noticed that David Bordwell recommended it on his blog, and decided to procrastinate by watching it.

Oh, this film. How I wish I could watch it on a big screen, but even on my laptop, its energy and panache took over my soul! The film is a retelling of the Ramayana, set within the framework of a present-day, mediated, intercontinental breakup, punctuated by Annette Hanshaw's jazz vocals. Also, there are cats. And shadow puppet narrators. And the greatest intermission you will ever see in cinema.

The phrase "eye candy" makes me retch, but if you're into that kind of phrase, yes, this is eye candy. Granted, I think that phrase in and of itself dismisses the impact on one's soul that beautiful images can have, like vitamins, but this blog is not about my bizarre linguistic predilections.

Today, this blog is about Sita Sings the Blues.

This is a triumph of postmodern hybridity. The film tells an engaging, entertaining story, but it also is about larger issues, about the power of media and modern technology to give us access to different cultures and stories; it's about cultural heritages both east & west; it's about the power of great literature to speak to our own lives.

Moreover, even if the movie sucked, which it emphatically does not, what Nina Paley is doing for / about copyright certainly warrants a recommendation in and of itself. This film has a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

You can stream the film for free on and sometime this year, it should be out on DVD. I could not recommend watching it more.


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