Monday, 26 July 2010

Sita sings the blues

Surely the loveliest animation film in many a year, Nina Paley's 'Sita sings the blues' is available for free download here.
At the beginning of the film Nina has a husband and a cat- but no kids. Hubby gets a gig in India and flies away. Nina pines for him. Being a good feminist with a vast sense of victimhood, she immediately identifies with
1) Sita spurned by 'the Patriarchal warrior God' Ram, invented by post Babri Ram leftist careerists.
2) Honky tonk chanteuses wailing for their demon pimp variegated by more tender African American 'blues' lamenting relationships made fragile by the adverse economic and sociological consequences of the transmogrifications of slavery.

Now none would be so ungracious as to cavil at the axiomatic nature of the proposition that highly educated White American women face far graver institutionalized gynocide, if their husbands or boy-friends manage to escape them, than Iron Age Indian abductees, or African American women at the time of Jim Crow.

The lovely voice of Annette Hanshaw and Betty Boop type animation reinforces and makes compelling this depiction of a passive and infantile Sita. There are three Indian American voices- two male, one clearly South Indian, and female- who, in the shape of Indonesian shadow puppets, provide a demotic, ambiguous, emic/etic commentary often to hilarious effect. Once again, the effect is one of cool distancing, passivity, and reportage on an inevitable disaster, a genetically determined catastrophe. During the intermission, when Agni sells cinema snacks we hear an old woman saying in Hindi 'I thought this was a kid's movie- but it isn't for kids at all.
There is an ambitious dance sequence immediately following the intermission in Susheela Raman style non-native speaker Hindi which accurately mirrors the spicy pakoras made of shit that is the self-exoticising deracination of modern Indglish feminism.
In the movie Ram gets rid of Seeta after she becomes pregnant. This refers to the terrible gynocidal Hitlerism and all round wickedness and evilry of MEN leaving women who have a cat- except they then gave the cat away to go to India to be with the husband but then fly back to New York to take an important meeting and then the bastard fucking emails saying don't come back and so she like gets another cat and an apartment and like fucking reads the Ramayana- so there!
Pregnant Sita, can't even stand up. She just lies down by the side of a river and sings the blues till rescued by passing Rishis. This is in accordance with the fundamental theorem of Western Feminism- viz Women are worthless whining shites who can't do anything for themselves AT ALL so gimme tenure or a Guggenheim or a MacArthur already.
On first viewing this scene I thought maybe that was a chatak come to drink Sita's tears and I was going cool! this one step up from the cliche of the viyogini becoming the equal of the Yogi, Sita has gone a step further- SHE IS HER OWN RAVANA, THE VIRODHA BHAKTA GAINING LIBERATION FROM RAM- in other words, Devi, by a neat piece of theological jiu jitsu, wins the Tiruvudal, becoming both the chatak's Sky and the Earth's womb.
I was wrong. It wasn't a chatak, just a jazz trumpeting peacock. Infantile Sita-as-victim jumps into Bhu Devi's womb. Feminism has reached its barren apotheosis by turning into a resentful, parasitic, foetus.

Which isn't to say this aint a lovely film.
Also it goes one step further than Tom & Jerry in that it turns one's natural, male, distaste for cats into a blind, murderous, rage against the species.
This, it seems to me, is the film's abiding merit.

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