Adapted from Nelson Rodrigues’ play O Beijo no Asfalto, this is Tambellini’s first film as a director, which has a claustrophobic feel and takes place within an urban scenery of nightclubs, bars, streets and offices. The main character Arandir witnesses a man being hit by a car in downtown Rio de Janeiro and, in a compassionate gesture, fulfills the dying man’s last wish by kissing him on the mouth. Among the witnesses is a ruthless journalist who takes advantage and sensationalizes this fact: "it was not the first kiss, it was not the first time". With the support of an equally unscrupulous police chief, he manipulates public opinion, insisting that it was a crime of passion between longtime lovers. Over time, Arandir’s wife begins to harbor doubts and his marriage is plunged into a crisis. Revealing the profound contradictions of the period’s moralism, the only person who defends Arandir is his young and seductive sister-in-law, and his main enemy is his father-in-law, who in the end turns out to be secretly in love with Arandir.


Directed by Flávio Tambellini
Produced by Glauro Couto; and Domingos Paron
Screenwriting by Flávio Tambellini; Glauro Couto;and Geraldo Gabriel

Music by Moacir Santos
Direct sound by Juarez Dagoberto
Sound department: Amaury Leenhardt


"Coisa nº 2" – released in the album Coisas [1965]

"Coisa nº 8" – released in the album Coisas [1965]

"Paraíso" – released in the album Choros & Alegria [2005]

"Für Elise" [Music by L. Van Beethoven, arranged by Santos]


Moacir Santos’ soundtrack for O Beijo can be considered as a very poetically cohesive work, following a coherent narrative path with a strong interaction with the story’s progression. Some musical elements can be heard as defining factors of the score’s three formal sections:

  • Electronic sounds

The opening sequence of the film is accompanied by a series of electronically manipulated sounds, completely replacing any natural sound and/or noise in some passages. During this scene, three of the main characters are introduced: Arandir; Aprígio, the father-in-law and Mário Ribeiro, the journalist. The action progresses until the stranger is hit by a car, followed by the kiss Arandir gives the dying man on the ground. The repulsion displayed by the father-in-law seems initially to be a homophobic reaction, but later turns out to actually be a forbidden passion for his son-in-law.

This section of the soundtrack uses filtering sound processes, spatialization, delays and collage. The resulting sound is used for two very specific purposes: 1] Emulate the chaotic sounds of a metropolis and 2] Generate tension and expectation in viewers because its use ends up creating a certain "strangeness", which ends right after the fateful kiss, when the soundtrack shifts completely to a more traditional musical context.

  • Percussion ostinato [timpani]

The center portion of the film contains various persistent rhythmic ostinato insertions played by two timpani drums separated by an interval of perfect fourth, and since it is heard various times, this insertion could be considered as a structural part of the music’s organization. Emotionally and psychologically, the passages relate to the pressure that Selminha, Arandir’s wife, suffers from her father, her neighbors, the journalist and the police chief. The dramatic intensity of the scenes allows an allegorical allusion to be made to the character’s heartbeat.

  • Orchestral excerpts

For the entire second half of the film, orchestral excerpts gain force and become the main sonority. These insertions are used at various times and present some very interesting themes. An example can be heard in the sequence that shows a caravan of cars on the road mixed with shots of the coffin on the way to the funeral. The musical composition has a funeral feel: slow pace, well defined beats and modal harmony predominantly using bowed strings and piano. In another case, an orchestral insertion is used in two moments with a similar function when Arandir runs away from the invasive journalists. Musically, the composition coherently molds itself to the suspense of the scenes. A piano motif begins, permeated by rhythmic tremolos deep into the instrument’s bass region, generating certain "confusion" in the bass tones, due to the agile rhythmic subdivision as well as the clusters formed in a region with little sound definition. Modal and with a cyclical structure, the elements gradually juxtapose each other: piano, timpani, strings, French horn and oboe, weaving a complex counterpoint. Another example is an excerpt with the characteristics of a "piano concerto": a piano soloist accompanied by strings, insinuating an unexpected possible love relationship between Arandir and Dália, his sister-in-law. This musical insertion contains the melodic profile of the song "Paraíso", recorded more than four decades later for the record Choros & Alegria.

Permeating the three pillars described above are the insertions of "Für Elise" at various moments from the beginning to the end of the film. It is interesting to observe how they have a structural function of connecting the parts of the film music and give more fluency to the concept, because the composition undergoes transformations caused by the friction with other presented elements. The clearest example of this is the great increase in density of the arrangement, which goes from a solo saxophone at the beginning of the film to a grandiose orchestral excerpt in the film’s final musical insertion. We can perceive that the theme appropriates the recurring instrumentation in the last part of the score, creating a fusion of the film’s theme with the instrumentation.

In addition, some other interesting insertions are the diegetic compositions, when the characters are also listening to and interacting with them. For example, in the scene where Mário Ribeiro is at the beach and a woman attempts to seduce him, we see a small portable radio close to them. Next, we see a true cinematic cliché when one of the characters turns the radio’s knob and the volume is immediately increased in order to justify to the viewers that the music is also being heard within the scene. In the case of the scene in question, Santos clearly imitates the characteristic samba-jazz sound of the late 1950s and early 1960s. In this manner, the listening of the excerpt takes on a more likely aspect, leading viewers to believe that the music is actually coming from the radio and, as a result, situates the narrative within its time period.

Another diegetic musical insertion is the composition that later became known as "Coisa nº 8". It serves to create the bohemian environment of the club that Mário Ribeiro attends. During the sequence in question, we see two women [Betty Faria and Glauce Rocha] discussing how to seduce him, so that they, who knows, can become as famous in the Rio society as that fateful kiss, by means of the journalist’s influence. The musical insertion sounds similar to Afro-Cuban jazz, with two woodwind and brass instruments communicating with each other [baritone sax and trumpet], accompanied by a guitar, bass and atabaque drums.

Another remarkable musical insertion is "Coisa nº 2", in a very similar arrangement to that of the Coisas. It works as a leitmotiv to suggest the journalist’s regret, since whenever we hear it, the character’s behavior and actions take on some kind of uncertainty. The fact that he is the main responsible party for ruining Arandir’s life in exchange for increased readership is not going down well with him.

Finally, another very important aspect of the O Beijo soundtrack is the fine line between film music and sound design. In other words, in some parts of the film the music takes on the role of noise and vice-versa. For example, in the beginning of the film the predominant sound is that of manipulated noises, representing urban life. In this case, the musical sound completely replaces the diegetic sound that supposedly should be heard. In other cases, percussion is used as to parallel naturalistic sounds, as when a mirror is broken and we hear a quite aggressive drum solo, stressing the metallic sound of the cymbals and making a direct allusion to the sound of the mirror shattering. However, the use of music as a noise in this soundtrack does not happen in such an obvious manner.

Another especially striking insertion is when the newspaper printing machinery appears in a scene [along with its respective sounds/noises] to show the first sensationalist news being printed and published. After that, the image is gradually left behind and in other scenes we only hear the machinery’s sound, informing viewers that another news item was published, like a leitmotiv.

In this example, we realize that the naturalistic sounds generate a feeling of reality, providing complementary information. And the music acts in a more playful manner, with the possibility of, for example, situating the plot socially, geographically and/or politically. And the inverted use of these parameters can provide new types of understanding and meaning to the filmed narrative.

© 2015 Moacir Santos Film Scores |  all rights reserved  |  designed by LPG



Commercially released in Brazil in April 1965, directed by Flávio Tambellini