Wide Angle: Sworn Virgin

On Wide angle, we review the film ‘Sworn Virgin’. Directed by Laura Bispuri, the movie released in 2015

Wide Angle is a Films and Books segment at continnect. Here we discuss films and books about women. The segment aims to look at films and books, encourage you to look them up as well, that are about the daily battles, the small wins, the big losses and the immense courage of women from across the world. Prajwal Shali is our Wide Angle segment Editor and she talks about the film ‘Sworn Virgin’. Directed by Laura Bispuri, the movie released in 2015

The Story

Set in the Albanian society, ‘Sworn Virgin’ tells the story of two sisters who choose different live for themselves. Moving back and forth between past and present, the movie showcases us an oppressive world where women are treated as chattel.  The only escape for women is to marry or become a sworn virgin, which means to live as a man, let go of her female identity and to live a vow of chastity forever. Hana played by Alba Rohrwacher lives as a sworn virgin named Mark while her sister Lila (Flonja Kodheli) gets married and has a daughter Jonida (Emily Ferratello). However, after living like Mark for over a decade, Hana questions her existence. She wants to be as her character in the movie says “Free from being forced to be something”.


Who Are Sworn Virgins

The Albanian society is fiercely patriarchy. They have a traditional code of social behavior, ‘Kanun’, established around the 15th century, “a code of honor that reserves most social privileges for men only. The right to drive, drink, vote, use a gun, smoke and even wear pants are entitlement of men. If any woman wanted to be a part of this other world, she must sacrifice her womanhood and “live a life of celibacy as a burrnesha, or sworn virgin”. You can read more here and here .

The Director

Laura Bispuri was born in 1977 in Italy. With a family background in films Laura developed an interest in movies and cinema. Her grandfather used to make props for many Italian films, working with directors like Rossellini, Scola, among others.  Her father is a film critic. She received a Masters in Arts. She made many short films and got awards.

You can read more on that here. ‘Sworn Virgin’ made in 2015 is Laura’s directorial debut.  Here’s more on the movie and challenges involved.

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