SFIFF: Sobering but Entertaining Water Crisis Documentary: Last Call at the Oasis

My first movie today at the San Francisco International Film Festival wasn’t exactly fun, but it’s arguably the most important film I’ve seen at this year’s festival.

B+ Last Call at the Oasis
Water covers most of this planet’s surface, yet the human race is rapidly running out of safe drinking water. Unless you’re deep in denial, you already know this. Jessica last_call_oasis copyYu’s surprisingly polished documentary makes it that much harder to remain in denial. (Of course, if you’re denying the problem, you won’t see the movie, but that’s the problem with every political documentary.) With the help of original and stock footage, news clips, informative animation, and experts speaking directly to the camera (including the real Erin Brockovich), Yu shows us how as more water is tapped upriver, communities downriver are doomed, how industrial pollution is making the water we have unsuitable for consumption, and how global warming is making the problem worse. Hollywood-quality flashy graphics and occasional humor help make this doc watchable, but no less frightening.

Last Call at the Oasis will screen two more times before the festival closes: Tuesday, 9:30 at the SF Film Society Cinema, and Thursday, 8:40, at the Pacific Film Archive. The festival has promised Yu in person on Tuesday.

The title is on the festival’s list of films likely to receive a theatrical release.