Wired has an interview with American animator Nina Paley, whose Sita Sings the Blues is a musical adaptation of the epic Ramayana.
In Thai culture, the ancient Hindu epic has been adapted as the Ramakien.
Paley's story is told in parallel with the breakup of her own marriage. She rendered the feature-length, animated story in Flash animation, watercolor paints and rotoscoping, all by herself in her home office. The film is making its North American premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, which started on Wednesday and runs until May 4.
Here's is an excerpt from the Wired article:
Wired: What is your movie about?
Nina Paley: Sita Sings the Blues is a musical, animated personal interpretation of the Indian epic the Ramayana. The aspect of the story that I focus on is the relationship between Sita and Rama, who are gods incarnated as human beings, and even they can't make their marriage work [laughs].
Wired: And that ties in with the film's second narrative.
Paley: Right, and then there's my story. I'm just an ordinary human, who also can't make her marriage work. And the way that it fails is uncannily similar to the way Rama and Sita's [relationship fails]. Inexplicable yet so familiar. And the question that I asked and the question people still ask is, "Why"? Why did Rama reject Sita? Why did my husband reject me? We don't know why, and we didn't know 3,000 years ago. I like that there's really no way to answer the question, that you have to accept that this is something that happens to a lot of humans.
While being able to apply the ancient story as a parable for contemporary problems is great, quite simply, I like the animation style. It reminds me of Genndy Tartakovsky's work on Samurai Jack or Star Wars: Clone Wars. And I wonder if there are any Thai animators who would dare to take on the Ramakien, and not be afraid to make it an edgy, thrill-packed adventure that would appeal to adults, as well as kids.
Thai animation so far, at least in the recent cases The Life of Buddha and Nak, has been aimed squarely at kids, and as a result, is a little too self-consciously cutesy, polite and dull for my taste.