It's not often that one sees a film on the religious epic Ramayana, where Rama is less than godly, where Sita sings 'Blues' music, where the revered pair are compared to a new-age couple in New York, where the most revered epic of the East becomes a kind of urban legend of the West.
And all this is portrayed, in the form of an animation film, created on a small home-computer, by American cartoon-artist Nina Paley, after a trip to India.
There are many unique features in the film. One is the use of three 'commentators', who serve as a kind of modern 'Chorus' to the ancient story. These are shadow puppets from Indonesia, but their accents are Indian. This draws attention to the epic's importance, in the world's biggest Hindu and Muslim countries.
The director hurtles across geographical, musical, cultural boundaries, fleshing out three memorable stories in three different time-zones.
When Paley returned from India, her marriage broke down, but the Ramayana story she encountered there, stayed in her head. She did extensive research on the epic, on the musical forms, on the animation-styles, for five long years, before she pieced together the monumental story, in her little computer at home!
The rest is history.
The film was premiered at the prestigious Berlin festival, went on to the well-known Tribeca festival, and spun around a phenomenal 100 film festivals around the world (including Bangkok), picking up numerous awards on the way.
But the film has not been screened at these countries, thanks to the risqué nature of the theme. In fact, it invited the ire of various Hindu conservative groups.
To best enjoy the film, it will be good for viewers to have a basic idea of the 'Ramayana' story and its characters.
The movie has wowed critics around the world.
Here's what they said --
New York Times: 'An amazingly eclectic tour de force!'
Chicago Sun Times: 'It is astonishingly original. To conceive of a film like this, is a great miracle.'
Hollywood Reporter: 'This is a welcome reminder that when it comes to animation, 'bigger' isn't necessarily 'better'.'
Don't miss a memorable movie, in our Contemporary World Film Series: our penultimate film of the year.
Foreign Correspondents' Club of
Penthouse, Maneeya Center Building
518/5 Ploenchit Road (connected to the BTS Skytrain Chitlom station)
Patumwan, Bangkok 10330
Hours of Operation -
All departments are open Monday-Friday and closed Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays
(including Photo Gallery)
10:00 am - 11:00 pm
12:00 noon - 2:30pm
6:00 pm - 9:00pm
12:00 noon - 11:00 pm
9:30 am - 6:00 pm