February 27, 2009
Family Fun: animated movies and smashing rocks
Well, I'm back.
I'd read lots of vibe for Nina Paley's animated retelling of the Ramayana, Sita Sings the Blues. Although Paley had done well-regarded short animations previously, this is her full-length feature, and it has been stuck in Copyright Hell because there is no system for mechanical royalties for the use of music in movies. I'd seen several rave reviews of this, but somehow had still tagged the movie mentally with a 'worthy' tag. The movie draws a parallel between Paley's own failed marriage, and the role of the virtuous and devoted wife Sita. It uses a variety of animation styles, including one in which Sita is rendered as a sort of Indian Betty Boop lip-synching the torch songs of Annette Henshaw.
So when I discovered that it's now available for online streaming, ahead of a full downloadable release next week, I started to watch, intending to watch for a bit and then move on (ooh, the flittery nature of modern life). Except that I swtiched the video to fullscreen after a minute or so, completely charmed by the peacock phonograph in this still, and then Marianne started to watch. And a few minutes later, curious as to the howls of laughter coming from the study, Jonathan joined us. We were all completely delighted.
Is it suitable for children? Well, they both had a far better understanding of the Ramayana than I did, thanks to their thoroughly multicultural school curriculum. So the subject matter was straightforward enough for them to understand. The entire film has its own embedded commentary, and at one point there's some frank discussion of the sexual politics involved in the saga; not enough to trouble them I think. I think, really, it's a film for people. Watch it.
That was tonight's Family Activity. Last night we put some geodes inside an old sock and smashed them with a hammer. That gave both Marianne and Jonathan practice in using a hammer in a controlled fashion, and Steven practice in not getting too worried about his children waving hammers around. We now have a lot of smashed bits of geode. Some of them have crystals in. None of them are anything like as fancy as the obviously dyed ones that people tried to hawk us in Morocco. We also have an unusable sock.