Roses and Chocolates
An unlikely couple is torn between their disparate worlds and their love for each other. Based on Maria Johnsen’s novel “Roses and Chocolates”
Pregnant Veronica is discovered helping the German Jews, forced to flee, she and her unborn child go into hiding leaving the love of her life behind. Can this family be reunited after two decades of time apart?
Genre: War, Drama
Producer, writer, director: Maria Johnsen
Production: Golden Way Media Films
Roses and Chocolates is a one hour episodic serial narrative which functions as a historical romance novel for television. Ostensibly, the five seasons are an epic twenty-year story of love separated by war, following two lead individuals, their struggles, and the changes and contradictions in their lives and characters over these two decades, as well as that of the loved ones they hold close.
Roses and Chocolates reinvents the procedural form using a unique, layered story structure which braids multiple time-periods, based on true events. This structure breaks apart the traditional tropes that audiences are familiar with from war stories, as we see the repercussions and resonance of conflict, both in the wider society and in the lives of the survivors and for the next generation to come.
The first ten episode season details the romance of the two lead characters, Veronica (a Berlin café waitress) and Hans (an SS officer). During the affair Veronica falls pregnant but soon Hans goes to Poland to fulfill his SS duties (watching over a concentration camp) while Veronica becomes part of the White Rose movement, sneaking German Jews out of Germany (something she must conceal from Hans). Eventually her secret is revealed and, to save her life and that of her unborn child, she steals an airplane from her father’s factory. On the way to the U.S., their plane crashes near Oslo, Norway, where Veronica gives birth to a boy (Peter).
This is only the beginning of a generation-spanning romance, exploring love, loss and struggle against the backdrop of WWII and the scars it leaves across Europe.
A UNIQUE STRUCTURE
The narrative is structured in FIVE TIME-FRAMES across five seasons. The first is a dramatization of 1943-1944; the majority of the ten episodes exist as the dramatization of two central cases which relate to the fighting for freedom, as well as the complications of Veronica and Hans’s struggle to be together and growing awareness of the horror of the Nazi regime.
The second time-frame is 1944-1945; showing Hans growing horror at the killings in the Polish concentration camps and ultimately helping SZYMON (a polish Jewish prisoner) and his inmates in a prison break. Simultaneously Veronica is living in hidden in Norway under occupation of the Nazi raising Hans’ child.
In following seasons we explore a Europe ravaged by war and the efforts of our central characters to rebuild their lives, having lost everything.
A.) A primary layer of romance is created in the pursuit for true love in WW2 and the personal lives of Veronica and Hans along with each war prisoners in Poland. Every single character has a story to tell and beneath all these stories lies love and family values.
B.) A secondary layer of love is created in 1950, as we try to understand exactly what happens to Hans and Veronica after war. At first, we learn that Hans learns the Nazi ideology is not the way of life and patriotism; he discovers the love of freedom from all ideologies and decides on helping prisoners.
Part of the driving, underlying drama of the series is in learning how Veronica and Hans deal with trying to love, lose and find each other, when life has other plans for them, and how each grows and changes significantly through the hardships and challenges they face. As the main storyline finds drama in romance, it also mines the personal lives and the contradictions essential in Hans and Veronica, as well as the other characters in their lives.
Insofar as the narrative is a calculated series of revelations, the series itself is a procedural, its subject a dissection of the characters of this couple as much as the hunt for freedom and finding each other. The much larger subtext and theme for the show, however, is a sustained, intelligent exploration of relationships between men and women.
Contact Maria Johnsen to discuss about production and 5 seasons. Currently we are looking for TV networks who have audience for a one hour episodic TV drama.