Alba Rohrwacher, whom TrustMovies has long referred to as Italy's answer to Meryl Streep, gives yet another of her versatile, bone-deep performances in the new Italian/Albanian movie SWORN VIRGIN. Adapted (from the novel by Elvira Dones) and directed by Laura Bispuri, whose first full-length film this is, the movie gives Ms Rohrwacher a particularly unusual role, that of Mark, aka Hana, a very masculine-looking young woman (or is this a very feminine-looking young man?) -- whom we first meet as s/he is being taught to herd goats atop a somewhat wild mountain range in Albania.
Mustang -- that showed us something on this order involving Turkey and its fundamentalist ideas regarding women. And if you've seen certain films that take place in Albania and deal with subjects such as the Albanian idea of revenge --say, The Forgiveness of Blood -- you will quickly understand how, uh... backward these ideas can seem.
Flonja Kodheli; her helpful brother-in-law (Luan Jaha, above, left); and her niece (a lovely performance from newcomer Emily Ferratello, shown at right, three photos below).
Lars Eidinger, above and below) at the pool in which Mark's niece practices her synchronized swimming -- which leads to one of the most interesting hand-jobs you're likely to have witnessed. Likewise our hero/heroine's first penetration scene: so fraught and unusual yet strangely liberating as any the movies have given us.
Strand Releasing and running just 90 minutes, Sworn Virgin opens in New York City at the Village East Cinema this Friday, April 22. The following Friday, April 29, it will play Los Angeles at the new Laemmle Ahrya Fine Arts.