The brilliance of Paley's achievement is both graphic and structural-she has not only given Sita the visual specificity of a museum-grade gallery painting but also the intricate and inimitable voice of a classic Modernist novel.
A very creative and poignant animated film about the heartbreaks experienced by a Hindu goddess and a contemporary woman who share the universal pain and sadness that accompany the end of an intimate relationship.
The story makes little sense to those unfamiliar with Indian culture and literary traditions, but it is made accessible for westerners by the use of a kind of Greek Chorus of shadow puppets who help interpret the story.
And the ingenuity of Sita -- which evokes painting, collage, underground comic books, Mumbai musicals and "Yellow Submarine" (for starters) - is dazzling. Not busy, or overwhelming, or eye-popping. Just affecting, surprising and a lot of fun.
This colorful, cranium-bursting film isn't about one specific tale so much as the endless ways you can present narratives; it's nothing less than a kitchen-sink deconstruction on the art of storytelling.
The story shifts effortlessly between the two-dimensional collage style of the narrator segments, the classical artistic design of the Rama-Sita story, the pencil sketch style of the modern story, and finally Hanshaw's musical numbers in a two-dimensional
Even if its audience will be about 0.01 percent of that of Coraline and Up, Nina Paley's hilarious, effortlessly cross-cultural and utterly original animated feature should be considered with the same lofty regard.