Made by part of the same team behind the international hit Black Orpheus [director Robert Mazoyer was the assistant director for that film], O Santo Módico became famous for being filmed in color and revealing the stunning beauty of Bahia. In the film, one day, on her return from the Fishermen's Feast Day, merchant Maria das Dores [singer Leny Eversong] falls and dislocates her collarbone. Poor fisherman Bento [played by Breno Mello, a former soccer player for the Fluminense team and also the star of Black Orpheus] comes to her aid and fixes her shoulder. The pilgrims see him as a miracle worker. Seizing the opportunity, Maria das Dores shelters Bento in her café, while his young friend nicknamed Negócio spreads word that for only 20,000 réis, Bento is able to cure any ailment. He's a modestly-priced saint. Crowds follow him pleading for miracles, but Bento fears divine punishment and really only wants to stay with his beloved Flora, who in turn is planning to move in with fisherman Heitor. When Bento decides to leave Bahia on a cocoa ship, Maria das Dores tries to keep up the good business by continuously reinforcing that one day the saint shall return.


Directed by Robert Mazoyer
Produced by Les Films du Fleuve; Tupã Filmes Ltda.; and Sacha Gordine
Screenwriting by Robert Mazoyer; and Jacques Viot

Music by Moacir Santos; Antônio Carlos Jobim; Baden Powell; and Luiz Bonfá
Sound engineered by Oscar Santana


Movements "Berceuse", "Adeus", "Canto da Bahia", "Lamento" and "Milagre de Maria", by Tom Jobim

"Lamento do Pescador", by Robert Mazoyer

"Balaio", by Luiz Bonfá and Maria Helena de Toledo


Certain references state that the film was never released, while others say that the film has been lost. The truth is that some evidence of its commercial release in 1964 has been found, in newspaper items and posters. However, unfortunately no copy of the film has been found up to now to allow us to have a real notion of Moacir Santos' participation in this film music composition. Nonetheless, some general information has been found during the research, providing clues as to how the film might have been.

It is known that the film's music was not exclusively composed by Santos, but also by other important musicians of the time. The credits at the Cinemateca Brasileira state the following names: "Santos, Moacir; Jobim, Antônio Carlos; Powell, Baden; Bonfá, Luis". The website www.jobim.org contains some photos that can be seen by clicking on these links [1, 2 e 3], and the text accompanying the photos stating that "the recording of the film music composed by Tom Jobim, Luiz Bonfá, Baden Powell, Moacir Santos, Vinícius de Moraes and Maria Helena de Toledo" further increases the already long list of collaborators.

The relationship of this production with that of Black Orpheus [1959] is quite significant. Orpheus was based on a play by Vinícius de Moraes and had the same producer [Sacha Gordine] and screenwriter [Jacques Viot]. Robert Mazoyer, O Santo Módico's director was the assistant of Orpheus' director Marcel Camus. The idea of the director and producers of O Santo Módico was to release a film that would capitalize on and share the international success of the 1959 film. The intention was to hire similar composers for the score. Jobim and Bonfá are present in both productions and we can suppose that they probably brought Vinícius along, given his involvement with Orpheus as well as with the two musicians. Vinícius, in turn, probably brought Baden and Santos with him. The relationship between the latter three is quite unique, since Vinícius and Baden composed the song "Samba da Benção" in 1962, whose lyrics mention "maestro Moacir Santos" in a famous passage. In 1966, they released the album Afro-sambas, containing compositions that were created based on Baden Powell's exercises from his classes with Moacir Santos.

Jobim's online collection includes reproductions of his compositions for the film, and they can be seen in these links [1, 2, 3, 4, 5 e 6]. These manuscripts suggest a big budget film production, particularly due to the relatively high number of instruments used for the time, including flutes, English horns, trombones, French horns, violins, violas, cellos, double bass, guitars, vocals and a choir.

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Commercially released in Brazil in March 1964, directed by Robert Mazoyer