Commercially released in Brazil in August 1963, directed by Alberto D'Aversa




An adaptation of the first part of the 1946 book by Jorge Amado, the writer from Bahia, directed by the Italian theater director Alberto D'Aversa, with assistance from Amado himself. The film is a type of road movie through the Brazilian hinterlands with Communist overtones, filmed mostly in the badlands of Bahia and Pernambuco. It follows a family on its way to São Paulo, forced to abandon the land on which they lived and worked to pursue the dream of a better life in the south of Brazil. Little by little, the inevitable destabilizing tragedies strike: hunger, thirst, tiredness, madness, deaths, illnesses, fights. One of the main storylines is the saga of the young couple Marta and Vicente and their separation. Marta, the innocent victim of manipulation and moralism, performs the remarkable final scene in which the fourth wall comes down and she looks directly at the camera and spits on the viewer, who had been an accomplice of all the injustices she has endured.


Directed by Alberto d'Aversa
Produced by Proa Filmes
Screenwriting by Alberto d'Aversa

Music by Moacir Santos
Sound engineered by Carlos Foscolo; and Waldir Bonas
Song "Lamento de Vicente" by João Gilberto with lyrics by Jorge Amado


"Jequié" – released in the album Carnival of Spirits [1975]

"Lamento de Vicente" [Music by João Gilberto e lyrics by Jorge Amado - João Gilberto recorded and released this composition without lyrics as "Undiú" in 1973]


The film music of Seara Vermelha is considered to be Santos' first work for films. He was recommended by João Gilberto, to whom the authorship of a song featured in the film is attributed. The music is multifaceted, covering many different lines. The score is dominated by orchestral music, revealing the film's sizeable production budget, especially compared to the standards of the time.

Among the diegetic musical insertions [present within the filmed action] are three appearances of a Grupo de Pifes [or Banda de Cabaçais, wood flute and percussion band], when the instrument players are filmed and become part of the narrative. It is interesting to observe that the instruments seen on the screen differ slightly from what is actually heard. In addition to the traditional format of two pifes and percussion, a cavaquinho player performing with the group is not present on the soundtrack.

Three different types of traditional baião music are shown in the film, played in the classic formation of accordion and percussion [zabumba drum, triangle, etc.] In general, the insertions are presented as if they were played at the party, either live or on the radio. It is important to also observe that one of the three types of baião music became the song "Jequié", recorded and released in the album Carnival of Spirits in 1975.

Additionally, the soundtrack contains some insertions of diegetic singing, all of them related directly to religiosity. They take place mainly during processions and at the funeral of one of the characters.

The last diegetic music insertion is a tango in a bar scene. In the scene, Filó, the doctor's former lover, takes Marta to a nightclub that seems to double as the town's prostitution zone. The narrative suggests that Marta, now abandoned by her family, will become a prostitute. The music's bohemian character helps suggest this idea. It is also interesting to consider that this unique non-Brazilian music reference in the entire film is used to portray the modernization and corruption of the countryside life. The composition's number of instruments is small, suggesting a band that could be playing live during the scene, despite not being visible. The melodies alternate between a violin and a bandoneón, a typical porteño instrument, whereas a piano shyly pervades the harmony.

One the most impressive musical insertions in the entire soundtrack is a song we call "Marta's Theme". The opening credits and the scarce bibliography suggest that it may be "Lamento de Vicente", João Gilberto's composition with lyrics by Jorge Amado, the author of the novel on which the film is based. After various comparative hearings, it is believed that the singer who recorded the song on the soundtrack is José Tobias [1928-], an important singer from radio's "golden age". The song in question is performed by voice and guitar, and has the specific function of acting as the "narrator's voice". At first, the song appears at the exact moment when Vicente asks Marta's parents for her hand in marriage, and it is very interesting that the song is used to contradict what is seen in the image-narrative plan, since the song acts as a warning to viewers that something is wrong. It is heard the last time over the final credits, right after Marta is left behind by her family to become a prostitute in Juazeiro. This time, the song changes from the total antagonism of its first insertion to a faithful accompaniment of the action. In other words, the song predicted and confirmed the character's change of direction.

Additionally, Moacir Santos also made one of his most inspired non-diegetic film music compositions for this soundtrack: Various excerpts of solo instruments, combinations of brass and also of large orchestras, showcasing the entire range of his little-known potential writing for bowed strings.

Finally, it becomes clear that many of the insertions relate to traditional rhythms and genres of the Brazilian Northeast, particularly showcasing the baião, both explicitly and in a subtler manner. The modal compositions predominate, particularly those structured in the Mixolydian and Mixolydian sharp forth modes, but it is also possible to find melodies in the Dorian and Lydian modes with a certain frequency.

As with other of his works for film, Moacir Santos composed music that was very much in tune with the narrative's themes, researching deeply into its cultural roots without losing sight of the main film music composition techniques of the period.

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