“Recipes” reveal the unusual mystery of the murder in South Africa

The amazing, colorful mystery of the murder, which takes place in the hinterland of South Africa, will be shown in the film “Recipes of Love and Murder”, which will premiere on February 15 as part of Berlinale Series Market Selects the composition on European film market.

Based on Sally Andrew’s best-selling novels, the series tells the story of columnist Tanya Maria and her colleague, novice journalist Jesse September, who take action when a woman seeking advice about a tough husband is found dead.

Preparing a rich lamb curry and a decadent chocolate cake, answering letters and interfering with local police, Maria and Jesse are determined to unravel the mystery of the murder and catch the killer. But the killer can follow in their footsteps as fast as they hunt him.

Filmed in South Africa and Scotland, “Recipes of Love and Murder” is a joint production between M-Net, AMC Networks Acorn TV and Both Worlds Pictures in collaboration with Global Screen. Thierry Kasuta (“Puppet Nation”, “Rainbow Warrior”), who founded the company “Both Worlds Pictures” nominated for an international award “Amy” in Cape Town, produces the series in collaboration with Scottish Pirate Productions with the support of Creative Scotland and Paris. -based Paradoxal.

The show was adapted for television by Karen Janes (“Puppet Nation”, “Point of Order”), who is also an executive producer alongside Scottish writer and director Annie Griffin (“Avenue 5”). The directors of the series are Christian Olvagen (“Canaries”, “Poppy Nongen”) and Karen Jane’s and the stars Maria Doyle Kennedyin whose roles – “Alien” and “Tudors”, as well as Tony Kgaroge (“Rebellious”, “Blood Diamond”) and newcomer Kylie Fisher.

The premiere of “Recipes of Love and Murder” is scheduled in South Africa on M-Net in March this year. Acorn has rights to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Global Screen is engaged in global sales.

Variety caught up with Kasuta before showing the Berlinale series.

What made you and writer-producer Karen Janes turn Sally Andrew’s bestseller into a series?

I read the novel and just couldn’t put it off because there was something so sweet about it. There was something sweet, pleasant, tender and a voice – the voice of Tanya Maria – that I really liked in the novel. I said [Andrew’s agent, Julian Friedmann, of Blake Friedmann Literary Agency in London], “Listen, I think we can do something about it. Can we get an option? ” And he told me, “Yes, but I will give you an option only if you can do it internationally with international quality. I don’t want it to be exclusively a local South African series. ” And I told him it was my intention. I wanted to create a production that could stand out not only in the international market, but also at international festivals [and in terms of] creativity too.

We really liked the tone, the place, the characters, the weirdness, the fact that it’s local. This part of Karu [Desert] is the quintessence of South Africa – but a different type of South Africa. Obviously, South Africa has many parties, but it is something special. In South Africa there is a special place for bark: people bark, food bark, smell, light bark.

This is a women’s series set in a small town. Tell us about the two main characters and what unites them.

Tanya Maria is a reserved person who has lived an independent life. She has spent years at her home in Cara since returning to South Africa, and lived a peaceful life, writing a column of recipes until she was fired; her column is not part of the business model of this little Gazette, which is part of a larger organization. Therefore, she voluntarily leads a column in which recipes and life tips are mixed, because she does it well. She is good at empathizing with people. And at the same time everything comes to her through food, through taste, through finding ways to solve problems through food. It is her means of communicating with others.

Jesse September comes from a humble family. Single mom, sister and brother. Her mother works as a nurse at a local hospital. Jesse has graduated and calls herself an “investigative reporter” in this small town. And when a murder takes place in this city, she suddenly wants – with the help of Tanya Maria – to find the culprit and understand why this woman was killed. Jesse September will be a reporter-witness, and Tanya Maria will be a person trying to understand the emotions of the people involved in this small town.

You work with different actors. How important is this to the spirit of the show?

This is very important for us. We have a mix of beginners and veterans. Kaylee Fisher is a relatively newcomer. Super talented, very enthusiastic, very fresh, great energy. We have a very diverse lineup of people from different regions of South Africa, and different skin colors, different accents. So we have this mix of characters with Maria Doyle Kennedy, who is a successful actress who has starred in many TV series and movies.

I would say it’s one of the first South African series to feel like they’re coming together – I wouldn’t say as a nation. But Karu himself brings together people of different backgrounds and shows a part of South Africa that few foreigners know. And I hope they feel that there is a world in it that is made up of interesting and full of characters connections. Especially after two and a half years of restrictions and blocking, people can’t be together as much as they want, and I think this series is about communication. In this small town that can sometimes feel a little claustrophobic, you’re at least part of the community. And that’s what I think people crave the most.

Director Christian Olvagen, known for his brilliant musical drama “Canary Islands”, called the series “sunny noir”. Can you tell us a little bit about this idea, or what kind and mood you are aiming for here?

I have to praise Christian for coming up with the colors, the palette. We definitely wanted to make it colorful, we wanted to make it a contrast with Scotland [where parts of the series are set]which is grayer, less light. Christian fell in love with the material. He has never ruled television before, but comes from the world of cinema. He is a young, incredibly talented director. He immediately saw the colors and said that in our series there is something between “Chocolate” and “Murder”. This was also strongly influenced by Almadovar and Wes Anderson: Almadovar because he is not afraid of color and passion, and Wes Anderson because he loves symmetry, he likes to create pictures with beautiful composition.

That’s part of what we wanted to do with the show to have a lot of color. We wanted a lot of sun. And noir – well, because it’s murder in the towns, and sometimes behind these thick walls there are some dark stories. And that’s what I think he meant by “solar noir,” which I think we should patent.

How did this aesthetic set the mood you aspired to?

When we started filming how people read the scripts, there was an appetite for lighter plots. They were locked up for too long, there were a lot of gloomy stories, a lot of cruel dramas. And there is an appetite for stories that are completely optional – it’s not to blunt, to say that everything in this world is happy and happy. It’s about connecting with other people and being able to enjoy something that won’t constantly make you feel fear, anxiety, or incredibly sad. Now there are so many things that bring people down that they are looking for something that lifts them up. And it’s a bit of a fun series.

“Recipes” reveal the unusual mystery of the murder in South Africa

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