We spend a lot of time underwater, immersed in the river and the lives it hosts — schools of fish; a turtle that climbs onto shore to lay her eggs, then returns to the water; the countless forms of plant life. But we also are privy to the sacred relationship between the San Marcos and the Native Americans living near it. Colonization and capitalism darkly twist the narrative, bringing brutality to both the Native folk and the river, which becomes murky and sick as it moves into the present, with flickers of hope at the end. Told without dialogue and broken into chapters ("Yanaguna: sacred water"; "A'x peteku't: turbulent water"), Yakona, which means "rising water," uses Native American chants, music and vague whispers on the soundtrack to deepen both the tale and the filmgoing experience. Unapologetic in its activist bent, the film is just as relentless in its beauty.