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Sworn Virgin (2015)

Vergine giurata (original title)
Unrated | | Drama | 19 March 2015 (Italy)
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Years after declaring her eternal virginity and opting to live life as a man in the mountains of Albania, Hana looks to return to living as a woman as she settles into a new existence in modern-day Milan.

Director:

Laura Bispuri

Writers:

Elvira Dones (novel), Laura Bispuri (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
9 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Alba Rohrwacher ... Hana / Mark
Emily Ferratello Emily Ferratello ... Jonida
Lars Eidinger ... Bernhard
Flonja Kodheli Flonja Kodheli ... Lila
Luan Jaha Luan Jaha ... Stjefen
Bruno Shllaku Bruno Shllaku ... Gjergj
Ilire Vinca Celaj Ilire Vinca Celaj ... Katrina
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Stela Laknori Stela Laknori
Edit

Storyline

Hana Doda, still a girl, escapes from her destiny of being wife and servant which is imposed on the women in the inhospitable mountains in Albania. She appeals to the old law of the Kanun and swears her eternal virginity thus becoming a "sworn virgin". She turns into a man, takes up a rifle and becomes Mark, Mark Doda. It is in exchange for this sacrifice that Hana is allowed to be considered at the same level as other men. Her battle does not only mean that she must rebel against what destiny has been writing on her body for centuries, but she must also reject, in name of this rebellion, every form of love. A refusal that becomes her prison. After more than ten years spent in solitude in the mountains as a man, she becomes brutish and she transforms to survive the hardship, the cold and misery, until something returns to awaken her again... Hana decides to change life and painstakingly regain her body. She knows that leaving the mountains is the price she will have to pay to be able ...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Language:

Albanian | Italian

Release Date:

19 March 2015 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Sworn Virgin See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$830, 24 April 2016

Gross USA:

$4,636

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$108,681
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
Identity and freedom to choose
27 January 2018 | by nmegaheySee all my reviews

Laura Bispuri's has a very clear intent in her debut feature Vergine guirata and the director sets about delivering its theme in the most direct way possible; consequently it's one that doesn't have much time for poetic observations or even an openness that might allow the spectator to meet it half-way.

There's perhaps not much room for open interpretation anyway in the case of how life is for women living in a remote village in northern Albania. Hana (Alba Rohrwacher) has been taken in by a family there, but seems determined to follow her own path, rejecting the restrictions that have been placed on the work that women can do and even on who they choose to love. Her friend/ adopted sister Lila has found this lifestyle impossible and has left the region to marry and live in Italy. Hana has taken an even more drastic step and chosen the way of the tradition of burmesha (sworn virgin), renouncing her female identity to live as a man.

Hana, under her male identity as Mark, has now also found that it is time to leave her Albanian home and goes to find her sister by adoption in Rome. Still living and dressing as a man - the masculine identity of Mark left ambiguous but only for someone who don't know Alba Rohrwacher - it takes some while for Hana to rediscover herself, and inevitably, having lived as a 'sworn virgin', there are some issues to be resolved within herself with regards to her sexuality, which is assailed by sensations at the swimming pool where her niece is training as a synchronised swimmer.

Learning to become a woman again is certainly a unique subject for a film, but essentially Vergine guirata is just another spin on the idea of identity, on learning to feel comfortable with your own sexuality and who you are. It is very simple and direct on those terms, and it seems to borrow something from Celine Schiamma's Water Lilies in how it relates those themes to synchronised swimming. Even though it is straightforward in its theme and focusses on the unique situation of Hana/Mark, Bispuri's film does take a few moments out to linger over a variety of bodies at the poolside to suggests that there is more than one choice available, and that we are all free to control who it is we want to be.


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