SWORN VIRGIN (VERGINE GIURATA)
Laura Bispuri's debut feature beautifully captures one woman's struggle to escape the confinement of a strict patriarchal society by making a radical choice. As a teenager, Hana decides to escape her destiny of becoming a wife and servant by appealing to an old Albanian law, which allows women who take an oath of eternal virginity the opportunity to enjoy the entitlements of the patriarchy and live freely as a man. Hana becomes Mark, a "sworn virgin." When Mark leaves the mountains of Albania to visit his sister in Italy, he begins to explore his lost femininity and newly awakened sexuality. Actress Alba Rohrwacher (THE WONDERS, AFI FEST 2014) breathes life into the dual role of Hana and Mark. Bispuri's film, based on the novel by Albanian author Elvira Dones, expertly explores the themes of femininity, gender dynamics, identity and freedom. — Jenn Murphy
Laura Bispuri studied at La Sapienza University in Rome. Her short films have received awards at several festivals, with 2010’s PASSING TIME winning Italy’s David di Donatello Award for Best Short Film. Her feature debut SWORN VIRGIN world premiered in competition at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival.