New York Times - 02/21/2001
"...It is as much about generosity and courage and tolerance as it is about a discomfiting subject..."
Entertainment Weekly - 03/16/2001
"...The film defuses all preconceptions about the 'issues' of transsexual identity to arrive at a place of tremulous human power..."
For her film SOUTHERN COMFORT, veteran documentarian Kate Davis found a rare subject in Robert Eads, a 52-year-old female-to-male transsexual living in Tuccoa, Georgia. Eads, a charming, laconic cowboy apparently "male" enough to once be propositioned to join the Ku Klux Klan, began life as a female, married, had two sons, and lived as a lesbian before finally transitioning into the heterosexual man that he always felt he really was. In a bitter irony, however, Eads died of cervical and ovarian cancer--betrayed, as he puts it, by the last part of himself that was still female.
Davis follows the last year in Eads's life, a momentous one in which he falls in love with Lola Cola (a male-to-female trans) and says goodbye to the adopted family of transsexuals whom he has sheperded for years. And he lives long enough to attend one final convention of Southern Comfort, an organization of about 500 transsexuals from around the South. Davis never gets on a soapbox; in fact, she's entirely unobstrusive, since she had to eschew funding (time was short already when she met Eads) and shoot the entire film herself on digital video. Her subjects, meanwhile, challenge endless stereotypes--they're self-procalimed "trailer trash" who are nevertheless forging a new culture of gender.