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In Mozambican Drama ‘Virgin Margarida,’ Prostitutes Are Sent To Re-Education Camps To Become ‘New’

In Mozambican Drama 'Virgin Margarida,' Prostitutes Are Sent To Re-Education Camps To Become 'New'

From Mozambique comes drector Licinio Azevedo’s Virgem Margarida (Virgin Margarida) – a feature film, set in 1975, as revolution sweeps the streets of its capital Maputo, ridding it of prostitutes and other so-called *undersirables*. The women are then sent to re-education camps, to become “new women.” However, unfortunately for her, 16-year-old Margarida is mistakenly taken; the problem is she’s a virgin. The film tells her story.

Here’s a full synopsis:

Mozambique 1975. The revolutionary government wants to eradicate all the traces of colonialism. Prostitution being one of them. All the prostitues are taken to the most isolated forest in the country where they are to be reeducated and transformed into new women, under the watch of guerrilla women warriors. Amongst the 500 prostitutes is 14-year-old Margarida, who was in town to buy her bridal trousseau. Because she doesn’t have her ID documents, she’s taken by mistake. In the reeducation center, the revelation that Margarida is a virgin cchanges everything. The other prostitutes start to worship her like a saint.

Director Azevedo, who is said to have been under the tutelage of icons like Jean Luc-Godard and Jean Rouch, works in a combo documentary/scripted fiction style, usually reflecting the varied real-life stories that are live in Mozambique, his home country.

Virgin Margarida is his 10th feature since 1995. I have a lot of catching up to do apparently.

Those attending the Toronto International Film Festival next month will get a first look at the film, as it’s scheduled to make its world premiere there. 

Watch the trailer below for a glimpse of what to expect:

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