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Southern Comfort

Director:Kate Davis
HBO Theatrical Documentary Presentations; NR; 90 minutes
Release:2/01
Cast:Robert Eads, Lola Cola

Kate Davis deserves much credit for her documentary, Southern Comfort. Davis single-handedly served as producer, editor, cinematographer, and director. Southern Comfort depicts Robert Eads' struggle with cancer, and the gentle southerner's attendant relationship with family and friends throughout his battles. The story, at first, is a common one, and Davis underscores the unique everydayness of Eads life. What gives Southern Comfort its edge is Eads' background: he used to be a woman, and when he says “the last part of me that is female is killing me,” he refers to his ovarian cancer, which dozens of hospitals and medical practitioners refused to treat. Eads's girlfriend, Lola Cola, also underwent a sex-change operation (male-to-female in her case). They live in backwoods Georgia, a land of trailer parks and KKK clubs (that solicit Eads' membership, unaware of his identity). Fantastic stories can happen in unexpected places.

The film tackles a sensitive subject and looks at the simple side. The fellow transgenders of Eads' Southern Comfort support group look to him as a patriarch, a father figure all the more wise from his long-term battles with sexual discrimination. As do his two sons from a previous marriage. Robert Eads the person, not Robert Eads the transgendered, enlivens Southern Comfort.


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