All Creative Work Is Derivative

From the maker of Sita Sings the Blues comes a new short film that artistically delivers a simple message: “All creative work builds on what came before.” Using artifacts from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nina Paley draws the visual conclusion that art borrows and remixes – that nothing is really out of the box. This argument resonates for some. For others, it falls flat. Either way, the film is worth a watch.

I loved Sita Sings the Blues, if you haven't taken the time to download and play it - do.  I became aware of it through a Writing for Cinema class I took recently (which had an unexpected feminist angle), and consequently wrote a term paper on Sita Sings The Blues.  In Sita, film maker Nina Paley tells a story of her failing relationship in parallel with Ramayana both of which are sewn together by recordings from Annette Hanshaw. Jazz singer Annette Hanshaw’s tender and sweet ballads lyrically illustrate a sutra which brings Sita’s story into modern relevance, while giving Nina’s storyline a timeless understanding. Regardless of our places in history, love may be a bitter song to sing.  The song titles alone practically tell this story, with titles like, What Wouldn't I Do For That Man, Daddy Won't You Please Come Home, Mean To Me, I am Blue, and Lover Come Back to Me we get a clear picture of the stories being told as Sita Sings the Blues. Additionally the narrative of the film is carried forward with modern Indian music and a montage that marries the past and present with traditional sounds in a modern context. 


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