Skip to main content

SOUTHERN COMFORT

USA, 2000 (MIFF 2001, Documentaries)

Director: Kate Davis

Southern Comfort is a wonderfully humanistic portrait of transgendered life as lived deep inside Ku Klux Ktan territory, in the rural trailer community of Toccoa Georgia. Robert Eads is a female-to-male transsexual suffering from ovarian cancer facing sure death after 20 doctors refused to treat him for his condition. He has no compunction about labeling himself trailer trash, Eads speaks in a slow cadence, taking a pull on his pipe and drawing his long, lined face into a grin, his wiry patch of facial hair giving him the look of a Cheshire cat.

Southern Comfort almost feels like a film about a Southern fella spinning a tall tale about things that he couldn't possibly have seen. Questions of sexual orientation, operative transitioning and discrimination are effortlessly explored as the subjects freely open up their lives to the camera.

Raw, emotional and provocative, Southern Comfort sent shock waves through this years Sundance Film Festival, despite being as much about generosity, courage and tolerance as about a potentially discomfiting subject. The resolute kindness that helps Eads build a community of friends and loved ones is what gives Southern Comfort its punch. In his last days, he says of his foes, "I can't hate 'em, I feel sorry for 'em".

See also...

PAPERBOYS

Designer/filmmaker Mike Mills (who has worked with the likes of Beastie Boys, Sonic Youth, Beck, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Air) turns his lens on that two-wheeled denizen of the suburban ... More »

SUNSHINE HOTEL

Sunshine Hotel, the last stop before destitution. This Bowery flophouse is the setting for Michael Dominies exceptional, heart rending documentary. The film examines the lives of a number of men who ... More »

JUST, MELVIN

"There are few subjects as abhorrent to our sensibilities as incest, particularly when it involves very young children. Just, Mebin chronicles a truly monstrous case. The film tells the story of an ... More »

BREATHE IN, BREATHE OUT

Breathe In. Breathe Out follows three Vietnam War veterans, accompanied by their grown-up children, as they journey back to the very jungles and villages where they were once stationed. Leading ... More »

PIE IN THE SKY: THE BRIGID BERLIN STORY

A splendid account of the life of Warhol starlet Brigid Berlin, daughter to the Hearst Corporation empire. Expected to follow in her parents footsteps and lead a perfect life, Brigid rebelled ... More »

THE NATURAL HISTORY OF THE CHICKEN

Mark Lewis has taken the same brilliant humour he has applied to the animal kingdom in Cane Toads and The Wonderful World of Dogs in approaching his latest subject, the humble chook. This wonderful ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director