Mulher Rendeira – “O Cangaceiro”

Carrying on the history of the song Mulher Rendeira” (see Part I) we come my second selected version of the song, perhaps the most well known and most influential version which played a key part in introducing the song to the rest of the world. This version can be found on the soundtrack to Lima Bareto’s film “O Cangaceiro” released in 1953 via Veracruz Films.

The film, released in 1953, is a love story set in the harsh sertão of north eastern Brazil and the world of the cangaceiro bandits. A reformed cangaceiro falls in love with a young teacher taken captive by his band (Stockholm syndrome…) and the film follows their attempt to escape the clutches of the cruel bandit captain Ferreira, a reference to the most famous cangaceiro Virgulino Ferreira da Silva, or Lampião.

Though the film was criticised by many Brazilian intellectuals, such as Glauber Rocha, for the exotic “Holywoodisation” of the sertão reality, “O Cangaceiro” struck a chord with many critics and film goers across the world, winning the award for the Best Adventure Film at the 1953 Cannes Film Festival and going on to break box office records in Brazil and win distribution deals in 22 countries. Alfredo Ricardo do Nascimiento’s (Zé do Norte) classic score, which was inspired by the traditional music of the sertão and included his own interpretation of “Mulher Rendeira”, was also recognised by fans worldwide and indeed the Cannes jury, with the film being given a special mention for its soundtrack.


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