The Portuguese series, aiming to compete with the major foreign productions, is here
“Causa Propria” begins with a murder, but is a pure drama that crosses reality and fiction. Margarida Vila-Nova and Nuno Lopes are the protagonists.
It’s RTP’s big bet
Rui Cardoso Martins remembers the day his teacher was murdered. A shocking suitcase in the small Portalegre. More than the murder weapon or the cause of this “emergence of evil”, the writer and chronicler remembers the amazement and questions raised by neighbors and places. The way the crime messed up their lives.
It was precisely this experience that he tried to incorporate into the script of the new series “Causa Própria” produced by Arquipélago Filmes for RTP, which premieres this Wednesday, January 5th at 9pm on RTP1. The story, co-authored with Edgar Medina, takes us to a small town in the province, similar to their Portalegre.
There the locals are confronted with a crime, the murder of a young man, which serves as the starting point for a drama. Drama is the right word, far from the “criminal or police series”, Cardoso Martins explains to NiT. “Neither Edgar nor I are big fans of cops. I don’t waste time discovering puzzles. I am interested in the effects that crime, large or small, has on society and people in general. “
It is the effects of this mysterious crime that guide the reasoning of the “Causa Propria”, especially those that touch Ana, the judge played by Margarida Vila-Nova, who will face an ethical, professional and family dilemma. When family members are involved in the process, things get complicated.
Nuno Lopes is another strong name in a line-up that includes Ivo Canelas, Catarina Wallenstein, Maria Rueff, Adriano Carvalho, Afonso Laginha, and Sílvia Chiola. The director is João Nuno Pinto (“Mosquito”), who tries to work on this series more in line with what is being done abroad than we are used to.
The team also includes cameraman Kamil Plocki, who helped design the sets for the fictional location – which, however, was mostly filmed in Caldas da Rainha – and composer Justin Melland, who participated in Netflix productions with “The Ted Bundy Tapes” and ” The Sons of Sam ”.
The result is seven episodes of a drama that is based on a crime and from there paints a “portrait of Portugal and the Portuguese justice system”, says Cardoso Martins, who remembers the start of the project “about five or six years ago”.
“It all started with Edgar Medina’s suggestion to make a film version of the court chronicles that I’ve been working on for over 30 years,” he recalls. The tradition in the form of a chronicle began on the opening pages of “Público”, where he began as an intern and in the first edition wrote a text about a day after a court case.
“People started to like it and I never stopped doing it. I always kept these chronicles [que hoje publica na ‘Notícias Magazine’] and went to court every week. ”He goes and goes, he explains in a phone call that just interrupts the writing of yet another true narrative of events so incredible it seems fictionalized.
“Sometimes people think I make things up, but I don’t. They were even heard ”, he confirms about the chronicles, from which two books have already emerged,“ Levante-se o Réu ”and“ Levante-se o Réu Outra Vez ”. And he adds: “That’s when I learned to write other people’s stories, to listen to them and to tell them. And that’s where I learned to write fiction. “
Always true to reality in his chronicles, he admits to having taken some of the strangest cases and speeches about the “Causa Própria” with him, many of them occurring in parallel. “It is an action that takes place in a provincial country and where we observe several cases, we monitor the daily justice – between assault, domestic violence, fraud – and these characters,” said the protagonist Margarida Vila-Nova in 2021 to NiT . when recording.
“This judge will face problems with a huge choice to make in life between her political beliefs, legal reasons, justice, and the personal drama of having her own son involved in this crime.”
If Cardoso Martins already had a long experience in courtrooms, the actress also had to do her part of the field work. “I care [o tema] because we are at a time when justice is the order of the day and we are being alerted or awakened to so many Crossfalls … I am interested in pondering and working on justice. The research work is always interesting, I followed a few sessions on the justice campus in order to follow this universe that was so far away from me, ”said the actress, explaining the preparation of the role.
More than a “Who’s to blame? “We want to show the psychological and family effects of such an outbreak of evil and, on the other hand, bring together anecdotal stories that all cities like this one are always full. We focus on the wealth of the characters, their growth and the drama of those who have to make terrible decisions, ”concludes the writer.
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