A uniquely delicate and moving road movie, Barking Water uses the ruggedly beautiful backdrop of rural Oklahoma to tell the story of Frankie (Richard Ray Whitman), a proud Native American attempting to reconnect with his estranged family. Released from the hospital, but still very ill, he hits the road with his ex-lover Irene (Casey Camp-Horinek), who acts as Frankie’s nurse but refuses to offer forgiveness for his past indiscretions. As they travel through the sun-dappled country, they encounter various eccentric personalities, from his motor-mouthed nephews and doting son to a philosophical pot-smoking loner, offering a panorama of Oklahoman life. But his journey really begins when he reunites with his daughter and finally meets her newborn child.
With its nuanced vision of Native American life, its rich, pastoral cinematography, and the deeply felt performances of Whitman and Camp-Horinek, director Sterlin Harjo has created a film that cements his place as one of the vital voices in American Independent cinema today.