Southern Comfort (2001 film)
|Directed by||Kate Davis|
|Produced by||Kate Davis|
|Music by||Joel Harrison|
|Editing by||Kate Davis|
|Distributed by||HBO Documentary|
|Running time||90 mins|
Southern Comfort is a 2001 documentary film about the final year in the life of Robert Eads, a female-to-male transsexual. Eads, diagnosed with ovarian cancer, was turned down for treatment by two dozen doctors out of fear that treating such a patient would hurt their reputations. By the time Eads received treatment, the cancer was too advanced to save his life.
The film begins in the spring and documents Eads' life through the following winter. Eads falls in love with Lola, a male-to-female transgender woman. He spends those remaining warm days in the company of his "chosen family": Maxwell, Cas, and "the rest". That summer, his mother and father drive ten hours to visit Robert, who is still their daughter in their eyes. Later that year, Eads makes his last appearance at the Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, a prominent transgender gathering. Already feeling ill, he addresses a crowd of 500 and takes Lola to what is for them a prom that never was. Shortly after the conference, Eads dies in a nursing home with his chosen family.
After Eads' death, his ashes were spread across the family farm around a lone Christmas tree which was to symbolize Robert's many changes and blossomings in life.
Eads' friends, Tom and Debbie King, also appear in the film. They saved Eads' life when he collapsed in a pool of his own blood while staying with them. They initially sought treatment for Eads but were unable to locate a doctor willing to treat a transsexual man.
Robert's lifelong struggle to have his outer appearance match his inner self is a salient theme in the movie. All persons portrayed in the movie wrestle with themes of rejection from others, rejection of self, feeling ostracized from humanity and ultimately crafting their own lives and personal support systems.
- Grand Jury Prize (Documentary), Sundance Film Festival 2001
- First Prize, Seattle International Film Festival
- Special Audience Award, Berlin Film Festival
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