Thursday, April 21, 2005

The ideal woman

Nina Paley's Sita
Rama’s wife, daughter of the Earth,
incarnation of goddess Lakshmi,
embodiment of chastity and purity,
Perfect Woman, and doormat.

I've always meant to dig into the Ramayana, having looked at comic books, films, and a wide variety of texts, but here's an attractive way in: cartoonist Nina Paley has been fashioning Sita Sings the Blues, a remarkable animated treatment of the Ramayana set to lo-fi, scratchy jazz-era 78rpm recordings. The latest installment, "Hanuman Finds Sita" (available here), uses "Daddy Won't You Please Come Home?," a 1929 standard sung by Annette Hanshaw and composed by Sam Coslow for Josef von Sternberg's silent Thunderbolt (starring Fay Wray!) as accompaniment. Sita is a labor a love, a "self-animated, unfunded, destined-to-drive-me-to-the-poorhouse feature-in-progress."

[Via Turbanhead—another site which deserves your attention—which supplies a few screen caps (0 1 2) for those of you with slow connections, as well as an interesting meditation on Unawatuna, a Sri Lankan city featured in a recent Anthropologie catalogue.]


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