South of Southern (2011) – By Josh Samford

I suppose that when Duane, our amazing editor here at Rogue Cinema, saw the title "South of Southern," he felt that I was perhaps the most qualified person he knew to forward this movie to. As a bona fide Southern boy, born and raised, I know the south. So, with a title like South of Southern, this seems to be a movie with a great infatuation for Southern living. Southern culture is an expansive language that travels throughout several states and has only one unifying tie: our unified traditionalism. South of Southern is a short length comedy feature that shows the often-absurd traditions that come with Southern living. In particular, it mocks the socialite status of certain groups that can be found in any posh Southern metropolis.

Anabelle is the matriarch of a very troubled aristocratic Southern family. During a celebratory time, with Anabelle preparing a party to for her daughter’s engagement, she must contend with a reporter, her own racism, and a series of catastrophic events that may very well unleash a torrent of secrets that she has tried to hide for a very long time.

The first thing that I noted about South of Southern was the level of performances found in the short. Although I am quite accustomed to the acting in low budget comedies, I was surprised that the actors found in this feature are actually of a very high quality. Although some tend to take things a bit over-the-top, it never seems outside the realm of plausibility with their characters. In particular, there are a few characters who speak with a harshly antiquated version of the antebellum accent that people may recognize from Gone With the Wind. Although I have met a few southerners who still wish that they were somehow part of a wealthy "old money" family during the plantation era, I have not met one person in the south who speaks like Scarlet O’Hara, but I can understand that this is obviously a satirical choice. In particular, as the movie progresses, I believe that this accent actually fits the character due to their own internal phoniness. It can be a bit off putting at the start, but it all seems to make sense by the end.

The comedy found in the feature can be a bit on the broad side of things. However, when the movie decides to focus entirely on its characters, it does manage to find a certain amount of strength. These characters are interesting, and their silly world is just crazy enough to draw the audience in. Clocking in at such a short running time, however, the audience is left feeling as if there is a great deal more to know about these characters. With so much introduction and exposition, the story could have used a more concentrated sense of development and conflict. However, this feels like the run-up to something bigger. Perhaps the filmmakers have bigger plans in the near future, and we may see these characters pop up in other media.

As it is, I enjoyed South of Southern. It has its heart in the right place, and the audience that it will draw should enjoy what is in store for them. With these strong performances, I am intrigued by what these filmmakers will do next. If you would like to read more about this project, you can visit the official website at: http://www.southofsouthern.com