Ishi ga aru

There Is a Stone
As elegant and deceptively simple as its title, Tatsunari Ota’s Ishi ga aru, reduces narrative and plot to questions of time, movement, and encounter.
The film opens with a nameless woman arriving in a small town, out of seeming nowhere. “Is there anything nice around here?” she asks a local, “Something fascinating?” Her inquiry met with a near-blank stare, she thus drifts, eventually encountering a man skipping stones by the river. Together they pass the afternoon engaged in playful outdoor activities like balancing sticks, stacking stones and more. Finally, they part – their time together curtailed by the inevitable waning daylight – with the unexpected emotional import of their time together left rippling like the water over one of their submerged pebbles.
While structured around central characters and narrative in nature, the film invites a form of spectatorship more closely associated with dance or performance art. Throughout, Ota emphasises the physical and emotional exchanges between strangers, as well as between humans and nature. As if in response to the woman’s early query, Ishi ga aru quietly reorients our expectations and understanding of fascination.
by Tatsunari Ota
with An Ogawa, Tsuchi Kanou
Japan 2022 Japanese 104’ Colour International premiere


  • An Ogawa
  • Tsuchi Kanou


Director Tatsunari Ota
Screenplay Tatsunari Ota
Cinematography Yuji Fukaya
Editing Keiko Okawa
Music Shu Oh
Sound Design Young Chang Hwang
Sound Naru Sakamoto
Assistant Director Yui Kiyohara
Production Manager Koji Toyama
Producers Tatsunari Ota, Sachihiko Tanaka, Kotaro Kimura

Produced by

Tatsunari Ota

Sachihiko Tanaka

Kotaro Kimura

Tatsunari Ota

Born in Fukushima, Japan in 1989, he studied film. His graduation film Bundesliga was shown at the Pia Film Festival in 2017. His second film Ishi ga aru premiered at Tokyo FILMeX.


2016 Bundesliga; 65 min. 2022 Ishi ga aru (There Is a Stone); 104 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023