Karanović was inspired to make the film Virgina by reading a newspaper story about an Albanian woman who lived for 25 years as a man, fought with the Partisans near Trieste, and was wounded and discharged, when it was discovered that she was a woman. The sources list her as Fatima Aslani from a village near Orahovac and Prizren in Kosovo, who had been raised as a boy named Diljoš or Daljuš. Karanović set the first screenplay for Virgina among the partisans in WWII near Trieste. Karanović wanted his film to be a multi-ethnic, multi-religion, multi-republic project— even an international one. None of these survives explicitly into the final version of the film, which is set not in 1944, but at the beginning of the century. The 1990 version centers on Stevan as an adolescent and is set in a isolated village near the Adriatic Sea. The film begins when yet another girl (Stevan) is born into a family whose bad luck is ascribed to the lack of a male child. Her father Timotije, who carries a gun through most of the film, takes her out to a field to shoot her, but then relents and declares he will raise her as a boy.
*Srdjan Karanović (1945, Yugoslavia) is a film director and screenwriter.