A number of films we will be screening in the not-too-distant future were among the nominees during Saturday night's Independent Spirit Awards. (If you've never tuned in, imagine a much more raucous, informal and inevitably more interesting version of the Oscars.) Ellen Kuras's The Betrayal was up for Best Documentary (screening April 3 and 4 with Ellen visiting on the 3rd), Steve McQueen's Hunger was up for Best Foreign Film (Steve will be here to introduce a screening on March 18) and Nina Paley was nominated as Someone to Watch for her one-of-a-kind animated tour de force Sita Sings the Blues. We'll have time to discuss the first two later and I wanted to call everyone's attention to this weekend's screenings of Sita on Friday and Saturday with Nina visiting on Friday the 27th.
Filmmaking doesn't get much more independent than Sita Sings the Blues. The film is virtually a one-woman creation as recent raves by Roger Ebert, The New York Times, and cartoonbrew.com testify. I know from experience that some people categorically dismiss animation as either kids' stuff or outside of their range of interest but one would hope that recent films such as Persepolis or the upcoming Waltz with Bashir have put such sentiments to rest. Sita deserves similar attention. The film is interesting for many reasons including Paley's heroically determined production and its current theatre-by-theatre distribution but the main reason is that it is a dazzling blend of animation styles, brilliantly scripted, and at times poignant and others hilarious. I can't recommend the film highly enough and I hope to see you this weekend. -- Dave Filipi, Curator, Film/Video