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The CangaÇo in Brazilian Cinema


ISBN: 978-1-78635-786-1, eISBN: 978-1-78635-785-4

Publication date: 30 May 2017


Cangaço was a form of banditry that occurred in the North-East of Brazil between 1870 and 1940. The movement has inspired many films over the years. This chapter explores the contribution of Cangaço-inspired productions to Brazilian cinema, as well as the particular characteristics of what constitutes the Cangaço genre.

Following a historical survey of the Cangaço, the films were divided into different categories and ranked in terms of relevance. Only the most important are discussed in this chapter.

The Cangaço has been portrayed in Brazilian cinema through the decades in diverse ways, dating back to the 1920s. After becoming a consolidated film genre in the 1950s, then known as Nordestern, the Cangaço finally acquired a proper structure, featuring multiple Western references among its common characteristics. In the 1960s, Glauber Rocha, one of the most prominent filmmakers of the Cinema Novo avant-garde movement, added his own symbolism to the genre. Eventually, the Cangaço was also revisited by directors who combined it with other genres such as comedy, documentary, and erotic films. Another relevant reinterpretation came in the 1990s, when filmmakers of the so-called New Brazilian Cinema offered a new view on the subject.

Despite its strong association with Brazil, the Cangaço has not been thoroughly investigated by researchers. This chapter presents a historical survey and analysis of Cangaço films, highlighting their relevance to Brazilian cinema.



Vieira, M.D.S. (2017), "The CangaÇo in Brazilian Cinema", Brazil (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 13), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 3-18.



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