“Pôr do Sol”: The RTP telenovela that is fun in all telenovelas is absurd (and very funny)

“Pôr do Sol”: The RTP telenovela that is fun in all telenovelas is absurd (and very funny)

It premiered on Monday, has 16 episodes and is a great satire on the format that has dominated Portuguese television for decades.

Gabriela Barros is one of the protagonists.


Under the name “Pôr do Sol” it was presented as a new “mini soap opera” by RTP1 and premiered on Monday, August 16. In fact, this is a great satire on this traditional format that has dominated Portuguese television (and beyond) for several decades. There are a total of 16 episodes that air from Monday to Friday from 9 p.m. – and they are also available on RTP Play.

The story is a huge melting pot of clichés: there is a good twin and a bad twin, the caretaker’s son falls in love with the daughter of the rich family (in a typical case of forbidden love between social classes) and what they do. I don’t know that they are actually brothers. The horror, the drama, the tragedy.

Gabriela Barros plays the twins Matilde and Filipa. Matilde is the daughter of the Bourbon family from Linhaça who own a property. He lives a forbidden love with Lourenco, the caretaker’s son – but they have a secret side of blood that they do not know. His parents are Eduardo and Madalena – Eduardo has little time to live and has to deal with his malicious brother Simão, who wants the money and power of the family to himself. Filipa is the other twin sister. She grew up as an orphan, has a dubious temperament, is the director of the most important fashion magazine in Portugal and tries to discover her origins.

If this all sounds absurd and far-fetched, it is. There is a clear intention of exaggerating everything: from the supposedly deep and intense way the actors say the lines to the various details of the performance.

One of the great strengths is that the actors stay absolutely serious and never have to break character to defend this comical text. “You are a very independent woman, you have MB Way,” says a character who wants to comfort another at some point. “Do you know what’s wrong with you? When you finished your sixth year everything went to your head, ”the foster father tells his son in an intensive conversation.

“Pôr do Sol” is an authentic festival of phrases that could become slogans in national pop culture. Henrique Cardoso Dias is the author in charge of the script – the greatest achievement of this project – and Manuel Pureza, as director of “Pôr do Sol”, has also made a name for himself in the quality of this “Novela”.

The generic consists of a repetition to exhaustion of Toy singing the phrase “pôr do sol” – with horses in the middle, and the singer also happens to appear during the narration to sing on the playback. José Carlos Pereira appears in a phone call from Zoom to become a doctor. Part of the story takes place on a farm in Santarém that we suspect is not in Santarém.

There’s also a huge satire of sponsored content that stepped right into the center of the plot of the soap operas – when Lourenço doesn’t let the story go by insisting on how delicious Pescagrossas Douradinhos are.

RTP had already bet on a project that satirizes the soap operas in part, albeit in a completely different and much less dominant way – we’re talking about the series “Sara” by Marco Martins, the drama and comedy in a gripping narrative with a luxury cast, Elements that made it one of the best Portuguese series ever.

In this project the satire is much bolder and devoid of dramatic elements. There’s just the drama that the characters experience all the time – in its artificial, superficial world that’s so far-fetched it’s addicting. We have the feeling that we are a millimeter away from breaking through the so-called “fourth wall”, but the sound always remains. The laughter is constant, the characters’ random references are amazing. “Pôr do Sol” is perhaps one of the best Portuguese soaps of all time – because it works precisely to deconstruct this format, which has been repeated over the years and doesn’t bother at all.

The cast also includes Diogo Amaral, Marco Delgado, Sofia Sá da Bandeira, Rui Melo, Manuel Cavaco, Noémia Costa, Carla Andrino, António Melo, João Baptista, Madalena Almeida and Sofia Aparício. Also read NiT’s interview with Diogo Amaral (about this and other projects).

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