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Dir: Ballie Walsh
(France, 1996, 35mm, 85 min.,

Both an angry reappraisal of recent feel-good drag queen culture and a moving depiction of an extraordinary human being, Mirror, Mirror, is a subtly presented, unsettling documentary. Through the attempts of Consuela Cosmetic, a talented transsexual entertainer, to face illness with dignity, we learn not only how AIDS has ravaged her peers?no matter how peerless she claims to be?but also how the virus has broken ideas of self-worth celebrated in the wake of Jennie Livingston's landmark Paris Is Burning. Yet Mirror Mirror is never heavyhanded. Consuela is always quick with the quips even on her bad days and is eager to share knowledge accumulated over her many years on the scene. From how to self-administer a silicone injection to "Dear Abby" advice for the lovelorn, there is an urgency to her monologues and demonstrations. With a deft hand, Walsh guides Consuela, and the relaxed but tight rhythm of the film, sustaining moments of great intimacy throughout.


Floyd William Bradford, born in 1958, is transsexual. Whatever he felt was necessary in order to appear female, he did it hormone treatments, silicone injections, plastic surgery. Ever since, he has been known as Consuela Cosmetic, a drag-queen, a self-made star, beauty of the night, expert on haute couture, confidence trickster, user of fraudulent credit cards, liar, swindler, prostitute, porn film legend, grande Madame, actress oozing with self-confidence; in short, a real slut. Consuela also lives with AIDS.

This film portrays her struggle for survival. Consuela tells us about her experiences as a transsexual and the many roles she has played in life. Her reflections on life with AIDS allows the film to hold up a realistic mirror to the glamorous lifestyle of some of its protagonists. Consuela died, after the end of the shoot, in March 1996.


Meet Consuela Cosmetic: illusionist, nightclub drag revue star and HIV positive hermaphrodite hustler. Despite these layers of labels, he emerges from this amazing documentary as a moving and inspirational human being. Consuela's long metamorphosis into a figure of glamor, against the dictates of convention and genetics, belies an underlying constancy: neither the prospect of death from AIDS, the medically necessary removal of arficial breasts, nor neglect by fair-weather friends, seem to shake him as he accepts, forgives, and beautifies himself day after day. MIRROR, MIRROR, while shocking on its surface, achieves a deeper and more meaningful reflection: that of a person who knows himself fully.


"Mirror, Mirror is a grimly disturbing documentary that probes the life of Consuela Cosmetic, a black transsexual who died of AIDS in March 1996, during the film's post-production. Offering an uncompromisingly candid look, docu demystifies such relevant issues as gender, sex and daily survival as they pertain to a "deviant" minority that's often misunderstood and misrepresented in the media.

...Consuela never took the crucial final step of gender-changing surgery; for most of his life, he functioned as a person with both breasts and penis. In fact, advertising his unique attributes, he managed to make a decent living as a nightclub performer and an aggressive hustler; many men were reportedly intrigued by his peculiar combination of biological traits.

Among docu's most harrowing sequences are Consuela's comments on how AIDS has not only ravaged his peers, but also destroyed the notion of self-worth and other values associated with transsexualism. The central figure comes across as a sensitive and witty person whose chief concern was to live with dignity and at peace with himself"

- Variety


Über den Regisseur:
Baillie Walsh

Born in London, in 1959. After making his first short film, Boys, in the late 80's, he made music videos for, among others, Boy George, Massive Attack, and New Order. Since then, he has made numerous commercials for French television. Mirror, Mirror is his first feature film.