Directed by Asia Dér and Sári Haragonics in this intimate tale of love and freedom, in increasingly divided Hungary, a lesbian couple struggles to create a family through adoption and tries to define their roles in motherhood.
The first feature-length documentary by the two directors reflects on the challenges of creating a rainbow family including a lesbian couple and a little toddler from a foster home. The artwork focuses on Virág who is a Greenpeace activist and her partner Nóra who is a musician. It shows everyday struggle with the adoption procedure which is unpredictable, extremely burocratic and unnecessarily long. After years long wait, they could adopt the two and a half year old Melissa thanks to a legal gap which allows adoption for a single person not for a same-sex couple.
With a sensitive lens and close access, directors Asia Dér and Sári Haragonics follow the two women through their long and ultimately successful adoption process to bring home their young daughter. As the rising tides of right-wing propaganda in Hungary begin to overflow into their family, their lives hit a boiling point and they must face the difficult decision of whether to leave their country behind.
The filmmakers put emphasis on the fact that the government believes and supports a traditional family consisting one man one woman scenario but they didn’t want to build the whole narrative around that opinion, because it is a quite sensitive matter for Nóra itself, who became the main character in the film. We can examine the reactions what she gave to the new era and trying to fit in or even lead the family even though she obviously had motherly feelings towards her daughter but she felt that place was already occupied.
The obvious questions occurred to her about what role she had to fill in that cohesion as a second mother maybe or rather the little girl doesn’t need two mothers at all. She battles with her doubts with a new identity and financial crisis as well.
According to the directors the topic of “Her Mothers” is about motherhood and forming a family. This is a very universal theme anyone can relate to around the world. They focused on everyday simple life moments but after editing they realized that the strongest scenes they had were the ones where Nóra honestly let them into her despair struggling with herself and with the new situation.
This led them to the decision to have Nóra as the main character and let her lead the audience along the journey of creating their family. They would be extremely happy if the film generated a dialog about the topic it’s raising.
The documentary was officially selected of HotDocs 2020 and was participated in Budapest International Documentary Festival’s official program. It was supported by the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Hungarian Film Incentive, and also can be seen on HBO Go from March.