Archive of films Sworn Virgin / Vergine giurata

Italy / Switzerland / Germany / Albania / Kosovo
2015, 90 min

Section: Variety Critics’ Choice
Year: 2015

In a compelling tale, Alba Rohrwacher takes on the role of an Albanian countrywoman who, following a local tradition, opted to live as a man. But after 14 years she is determined, against convention, to take back her original identity. Giving up a man’s rights, however, is no easy task.


The rising profile of transgender issues could clear an arthouse path for Laura Bispuri’s sensitive, deliberate debut feature, though it’s not a film that actively advertises its own topicality. Set instead within a fascinating subset of Albanian society where female-to-male gender transition is a tradition as old as the snow-blasted Alpine hills, Bispuri’s film stars an effectively cast Alba Rohrwacher as a rural woman who, after living as a man for 14 years, embarks on an uncertain path to reclaim her original identity. Under the region’s code, known as the Kanun, a woman may forswear her female identity to live and pose as a man, taking a vow of lifelong chastity in the process. In exchange, she is exempt from the strictly servile role prescribed for women by the Kanun – an oath that essentially amounts to the exchange of one set of sexual liberties for another.

Guy Lodge

About the director

Laura Bispuri

Laura Bispuri (b. 1977, Rome) grew up in a third-generation film family: her grandfather worked as a props master for great Italian filmmakers (Roberto Rossellini, Ettore Scola, Bernardo Bertolucci), and her father is an important film critic. She shot her first short film under amateur conditions during a year-long stay in Spain. In 2003 she was selected for the prestigious Fandango Lab Workshop, where she studied for two years under Paolo Sorrentino, Matteo Garrone, and Ken Loach. There she gained experience with other professions connected with filmmaking, and she began to work in short film production. In 2010 Passing Time won the David di Donatello for Best Short Film, and she followed this up with two other shorts, Salve regina (2010) and Blondie (Biondina, 2011). Sworn Virgin is her feature film debut.


The Match Factory
Domstrasse 60, 50668, Cologne
Tel: +49 221 539 7090
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Variety Critics’ Choice
Director: Laura Bispuri
Screenplay: Francesca Manieri, Laura Bispuri
Dir. of Photography: Vladan Radovic
Music: Nando Di Cosimo
Editor: Carlotta Cristiani, Jacopo Quadri
Art Director: Ilaria Sadun, Tim Pannen
Producer: Marta Donzelli, Gregorio Paonessa
Production: Vivo Film
Coproduction: Colorado Film Productions, Bord Cadre, Match Factory Production, Era Film
Cast: Alba Rohrwacher, Flonja Kodheli, Lars Eidinger
Sales: The Match Factory


Laura Bispuri

Thania Dimitrakopoulou

Sales Agent

Nadja Jumah

Sales Agent


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