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55th San Francisco International Film Festival @ BAM/PFA

Thursday, May 3, 2012
8:40 p.m. Last Call at the Oasis
Jessica Yu (U.S., 2011)

“Water is everything,” observes Erin Brockovich (the real woman, not the Julia Roberts version), opening the new documentary from Oscar-winning filmmaker Jessica Yu (Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien, SFIFF 1996). Last Call at the Oasis—inspired by Alex Prud’homme’s book The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Fresh Water in the Twenty-First Century—offers interviews, sleek production values, and hard evidence to bolster an urgent message: The fresh, clean water that H2O-hogging Americans take for granted will not last forever. Moreover, the supply is both shrinking and being polluted faster than most of us realize. Experts chiming in alongside Brockovich include droll, deadpan UC Irvine hydrologist Jay Famiglietti and UC Berkeley biologist Tyrone Hayes, a frog expert who discovered that pesticides in the water were turning his male study subjects into hermaphrodites. Yu also highlights grassroots water activists, bottled-water opponents, and a PR firm trying to market eco-conscious recycled water to skeptical consumers (hint: get Jack Black to star in your ad campaign). Though most of the film concentrates on the United States—with a focus on thirsty places like Las Vegas—Last Call also travels to Australia’s disastrously drought-affected cattle country. By the end of Yu’s informative, surprisingly entertaining film, it’s clear why she titled it Last Call, not Wake-Up Call. It’s already too late for that.

—Cheryl Eddy

• Photographed by Jon Else. (105 mins)

Tickets on sale March 30. Online tickets are available through the SFFS ticketing system. Follow the link below and select "buy tickets." BAM/PFA members receive a discount online by using a special promo code. If you are a member and did not receive the code by email, please call (510) 642-1412.

Buy Tickets

Advance tickets March 27–30. BAM/PFA members may purchase advance tickets online between March 27 and 30 by clicking the link below and entering a special promo code. If you are a member and did not receive the code by email, please call (510) 642-1412.

Purchase Advance Member Tickets