Southern Comfort

Southern Comfort


Reviewed by: Trinity

Robert Eads is a 52-year-old female-to-male transsexual, living in Georgia. This doesn't mean that he falls into those favoured categories of "camp" or "butch", but instead his bearded, scrawny figure and self-proclaimed hillbilly attitude makes him so convincing that the local KKK have asked him to join.

After the integration of blacks and then gays into American society, transsexuals are still shunned. The Southern Comfort Conference is America's pre-eminent transgendered gathering. Eads's final dream is to make it one last time, for he is dying of ovarian cancer and over a dozen clinics have refused to treat him, because of who he is. In a strange twist of fate, despite smoking like a chimney, it is the last part of him which is female that will kill him.

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Director Kate Davis follows Eads through his last year and also shows us his friends and family. From the parents, who could accept him as a lesbian but had misgivings about the operation, to his children from a previous marriage and grandchild, he is still loved. Emotional support also comes from his friends, including fellow transgendered couple Maxwell and Corrine, and his partner, Lola.

Davis's skill comes, not just from choosing wonderful subjects, but by becoming accepted into this strange extended family. She manages to capture some of their innermost feelings, and shows that transsexuals have the same range of emotions and personalities as normal people.

Near the end of Southern Comfort, one of the subjects remarks, whilst being fitted into an outfit, that "I can't breathe, but I look beautiful".

Hopefully, this film will help to give transsexuals the space and acceptance they need.

Reviewed on: 20 Aug 2001
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Southern Comfort packshot
A female-to-male transsexual "hillbilly" is diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
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Director: Kate Davis

Starring: Robert Eads

Year: 2000

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


EIFF 2001

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