Erin Brockovich

Monday, October 19
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2hr 11mins // directed by:Steven Soderbergh // featuring:Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, Aaron Eckhart // 35mm

Presented as part of Brookline Sister City Week. 

Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Ocean’s Eleven), Erin Brockovich features an Oscar-winning performance by Julia Roberts as the real-life single mom and legal assistant who helped bring a California energy giant to its knees.

Following a car accident in which she is not at fault, Erin pleads with her attorney Ed Masry (Albert Finney) to hire her at his law firm. Shortly thereafter, Erin stumbles upon some medical records placed in real estate files. She convinces Ed to allow her to investigate, and discovers a cover-up involving contaminated water in a local community, which is causing terrible illnesses among its residents.

Brookline’s Sister City (Quezalguaque, Nicaragua), as well as the whole of Central America, is experiencing a similarly devastating phenomenon: a long-term epidemic of chronic kidney disease for which the cause is unknown but that may have environmental origins. Before the film, epidemiologist Daniel Brooks gives an overview of the efforts to solve this medical mystery, and points out similarities and differences from the case dramatized in Erin Brockovich.

About the Speaker

Daniel Brooks is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH), as well as a member of the Brookline Sister City Committee. He is the Principal Investigator of a team of researchers that has been searching for the causes of the Central American chronic kidney disease epidemic since 2009. Prior to joining the faculty at BUSPH, Dr. Brooks spent more than 10 years at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, most recently as Director of the Health Survey Program, where he directed all aspects of the Massachusetts Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. 

About the Brookline Sister City Project 

In 1985, Brookline resident and educator Maxine Shaw was living and teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in rural Quezalguaque, Nicaragua. Friends from Brookline visited, saw the need for support and began sending school supplies. They also undertook other small projects, such as purchasing a school cow to provide milk for Maxine’s youngest students.

In 1987, largely through the efforts of Precinct 6 Town Meeting Member John Bassett, an official Sister City relationship was established between the Town of Brookline and Quezalguaque by votes of Brookline Town Meeting and the Board of Selectmen.