Framing Mom: Sara Johnsen

In the middle of her wedding reception, the doubtful bride Unn Tove (Tuva Novotny) finds a newborn baby girl abandoned in the hotel restroom. She turns her over to Child Services. 16 years later, a young and energetic girl shows up at her door step. It’s Rosemari (Ruby Dagnall), the baby from the wedding. Together they start investigating the circumstances leading to Rosemari’s birth.

They unravel a story about a young couple’s unrestrained love, an eccentric ex-boxer with a taste for erotics, and a mother covering up her life’s biggest secret.

Framing Mom is a touching and funny story about how sex, lies and biology created a beautiful flower, Rosemari .

Where did the inspiration for Framing Mom come from?

When I grew up I was always listening to stories adults talked about, often including human secrets, like forbidden love, theft, drugs and one that really intrigued me was the story of a small baby left by her own mother. I guess the story of Framing Mom is a mix of things I heard and things I made up. Also I have been very interested in stories about families and the search for identity through family relations. What does it actually mean, the idea of a identity connected to your mother and father? Is that idea stronger that the actual facts?

The film is very female-oriented in terms of cast and theme. Was that your intention?

Yes, I must admit it was as I felt the story needed a female sense of humor – commenting on the longing for a mother. I wanted to make something about being a woman and a mother and a daughter and a human being in love.

One of the rolling topics throughout the film is sex…

I wanted to say something about sex which was different from what one reads in the newspaper everyday. I wanted to make comments on sex that were sad and funny – and also look at the random result of sex – a new human being. Sex is so important in every society, the characters in Framing Mom all have different feelings about it and what it means in their life, but I guess i find sexuality and sex both very funny and also sometimes terribly sad – it’s very much a part of the human condition to struggle with sex and the results of our needs.

Unn Tove uses the situation as a way to deal with her divorce and own romantic life. How do you think her story and Rosemari’s are related?

Unn Tove finds it really hard to love the guy she is attracted to, and she feels ashamed of her own feelings. Rosemarie mother – we learn through the story- loved someone, but made love to someone else and could not love the result of this – Rosemari.  So to me they are related in the topics of shame, sex and love.

Do you believe this is a Norwegian story or can it also work as an international story?

I hope it can work as an international story. I had a very good French photographer Helene Louvart – she really likes the script; also because of the open way woman talked together.

It has a lot of dialogue- which can be a challenge in another language and it’s a light film – but we are coming out in Denmark in November and of course I would like it to go to Italy and Spain because I know some people from there loved the script. I also love films from those countries.

Do you have any projects in the works now?

I am working on a drama for NRK right now, but it’s a secret what it is about.

Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.