So, what is Sita Sings the Blues, you ask?
It's a full-length animated feature by Illinois-based animator Nina Paley that's being distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License. That's right. Not only does she want you to stream and download her movie for free, she wants you to spread the word.
So, is it worth it?
Oh. My. Yes. It's subversive, dazzling, funny, and touching. A movie that's sure to end with you grinning from ear to ear.
All built around the Ramayana, as hilariously told by 3 shadow puppets voiced by 3 Indian actors desperately trying to recall the details from their distant childhood. (This part of the movie is completely unscripted.)
It also a musical remix of the Ramayana as told from the point of view of Rama's beloved wife, Sita. Sita's musical voice Annette Hanshaw, a jazz vocalist from the 1920s.
Oh, and it's also about how Nina's marriage crumbled while her husband, Dave, was in India on a 6-month job.
As for why the movie isn't being commercially released, it involves problems with copyright holders. As it turns out, Annette Hanshaw's performances are no longer protected by copyright. However, the compositions underlying those songs are. Definitely read the FAQ. It's an eye-opening explanation that shows just how mid-list artists can be made to "disappear" because the copyright holder will lose too much money if they put the time and/or effort into drawing up contracts allowing people to pay for the privilege of using the work.
In any case, Nina Paley decided to set her work loose on the Internet (and on film festivals and on her local PBS station) for free. Yes, the copyright holder can still sue her, but since she's not actually earning any money on it, she's hoping they won't bother.
The Internet Archive is offering both High Definition (HD) and Standard Definition (SD) downloads of the 1 hour, 21 minute film here. You can also download it from Nina's Web site here.
Oooooor, you can just stream the whole thing via this post here. *evil grin*
Streaming is via the Internet Archive.
Check out Sita Sings the Blues, The Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told