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3 Votes (2.7)
Sworn Virgin (2015)
Vergine Giurata (original title)
Fiction, 90 min
Production countries   Italy,Germany,Switzerland,Albania,Kosovo*
Languages   Albanian,Italian
Director   Laura Bispuri
Scriptwriters   Laura Bispuri, Francesca Manieri
Producer   Marta Donzelli
Plot keywords    
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Hana is growing up in an archaic alpine landscape in Albania where the old codes and traditional gender roles prevail. She escapes the fate of a wife and servant when, in accordance with the Kanun, the traditional Albanian law, she pledges herself to life-long virginity, thus sacrificing her femininity for perceived freedom. From now on, she is treated like a man. She is given a dagger and the name of Mark. But after ten years of seclusion, she decides to change her life and takes the train to Milan, where her sister lives with her family. She is not exactly expecting Hana…
Director's Notes
This film was inspired by the book by Elvira Dones (Italian publisher: Feltrinelli, 2007). I fought to make this movie, pushed by a great love for the character of Hana/Mark, and by a sense of responsibility to the story, what I feel is a metaphor of the relationship between female freedom and the world. From the start, I was intrigued by the story’s very unique dimension in terms of character, social topic and specific isolated geographical location. Yet I was confident that all this could touch on much wider and universal issues. SWORN VIRGIN shares aspects of the Albanian culture, in particular that of village life in the remote
northern mountains: the Kanun traditional laws of blood, honor, revenge, women’s roles, family clans. All topics that have been rarely seen in cinema and that I have chosen to use as a symbol of a more general condition.

This is a film about the body, a frozen body. A body that cannot be either male or female; or that is both male and female. The Italian path of my character has always been for me a slow and progressive defrosting of a body. Mark is scared but also curious. He searches, experiments, opens up and then closes up again. Then finally, he slowly frees herself. But what is important to me is that at the end of the film Mark not only is Hana again, but finally comprises both sides in herself. In the final scene in the bar, I could have put Hana wearing high heels or a skirt, but it would have looked fake. I would have had the feeling of betraying Mark. I wanted to still recognize Mark, but also see some discreet physical traces
of the profound journey she makes.
Technical Specifications Image / Sound
Color / Black & White   Color
Sound format   Dolby Digital
Aspect ratio   2.35:1
Distribution format   DCP
Production country
Sworn Virgin on Facebook
Tribeca Film Festival 2015 press kit
Sworn Virgin - Berlinale 2015 Program
» 56th Thessaloniki International Film Festival. Balkan Survey Section.
» Tolga Karacelik΄s Ivy named Best Film at Antalya International Film Fest 2015
» The 52nd Antalya International Film Festival
» Highlights of the 19th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival
» The 26th Stockholm International Film Festival
» The 13th Tirana International Film Festival
» Balkan Survey programme - Thessaloniki Film Festival 2015
» Lanthimos, Tsangari, Jude and Morina among Balkan filmmakers participating at London Film Fest 2015
» Balkan films and highlights of the 50th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
» 65th Berlin International Film Festival
» Berlinale 2015: Eurimages supports co-productions and reinforces its collaboration with the festival
» 11 Balkan co-productions were supported by Eurimages in 2013
Films of Laura Bispuri
Sworn Virgin
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