OVID.tv — a U.S./Canada streaming service dedicated to independent film — is celebrating the work of master animator Kihachiro Kawamoto (1925-2010) with Friday’s release of his sole stop-motion feature, The Book of the Dead. The historical 2005 tale based on the novel of the same name is a tour de force adventure about a young noble girl in 8th century Japan, who leaves her home to follow the apparition of an executed prince in a ravishing film of beauty and mysticism.
The Book of the Dead
Directed by Kihachiro Kawamoto; KimStim, Animation
As Buddhism is being introduced to Japan from China, Iratsume, a woman of noble descent becomes obsessed with this mysteriously new religion. One night in a rapturous trance, Iratsume sees a luminous vision that she believes to be the Buddha, compelling her to leave home and journey to a sacred temple. There she sees Otsu, a young Prince who was executed 50 years earlier.
While Iratsume mistakes the prince’s spirit for the very incarnation of the great Buddha, the ghost mistakes Iratsume for the last woman he eyed at the moment of death. As an act of great devotion, Iratsume decides to make a giant shroud for the prince to heal his soul, and the Prince begins to haunt the young woman and those around her. The pair embark on an impassioned battle of wills, one longing for the material world, the other striving for the spiritual.
Watch Book of the Dead here.
New subscribers can sign-up for a free 14-day trial of OVID.tv. After that, subscriptions are just $6.99/mo or $69.99 for an annual subscription.
OVID.tv’s catalog of animated films also includes the Animation Domination collection of features, as well as award-winning short films and compilations such as The Exquisite Short Films of Kihachiro Kawamoto, Torill Kove’s Threads, Chris Landreth’s Subconscious Password, Koji Yamamura’s Muybridge’s Strings and Diane Obomsawain’s I Like Girls.