Review: ‘Beautiful Daughters’

The collaborative venture behind a transgendered version of "The Vagina Monologues" is the subject of Ariel Orr Jordan and Josh Aronson's 61-minute docu, "Beautiful Daughters." "Vagina" playwright Eve Ensler conducts emotional meetings with a diverse group of male-to-female transgendered persons to research, cast and rehearse the specially rewritten play.

The collaborative venture behind a transgendered version of “The Vagina Monologues” is the subject of Ariel Orr Jordan and Josh Aronson’s 61-minute docu, “Beautiful Daughters.” “Vagina” playwright Eve Ensler conducts emotional meetings with a diverse group of male-to-female transgendered persons to research, cast and rehearse the specially rewritten play. Transgender docus may be a dime a dozen nowadays, but the alchemy by which the transgendered women’s stories are transformed into vibrant theater seeps through pic’s otherwise sorely conventional structure. Pic is airing on Viacom’s Logo channel.

Part of the nationwide “V-day” fund-raising campaign to stop violence against women, the nouveau “Vagina” is mounted and performed entirely by trannies. Director Calpernia Addams has already been the inspiration for drama: Her real-life boyfriend’s beating death was the basis of “Soldier’s Girl” (2003). The cast represents a wide spectrum from a professor emeritus of computer science, to a pioneer in “transitioning,” to a stunning ex-stripper/escort-turned-real estate agent who has hidden her male past and sees opening night as her coming-out party. As they rehearse, the play’s original transcript and performers’ unique experiences begin to be an affirmation of reconstituted femininity.

Beautiful Daughters

Production

A Logo presentation of an Aronson Film Associates production. Produced by Josh Aronson, Ariel Orr Jordan. Executive producers, Eileen Opatut, Jon Sechrist. Directed by Josh Aronson, Ariel Orr Jordan.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Aronson, Steve Bell, Rachel Dunn; editor, Kate Hirson; music, Michael Bacon. Reviewed on videocassette, New York, June 5, 2006. (In NewFest Film Festival, New York.) Running time: 61 MIN.

With

Eve Ensler, Calpernia Addams, Andrea Jones, Leslie Townsend, Lynn Conway, Valerie Spencer.
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