The changing Brazilian social and political structure at the turn of the 20th century transformed Brazil into a more “modern” and “civilized” nation, removing customs which were falling out of fashion and into the realm of barbarism.  The “crime of passion”, once an accepted practice for adulterous relationships was quickly becoming a thing of the past, just as the entire socio-political landscape of Brazil was on the move.  The film Gabriela analyzes (though superficially) the dismantling of marital “assassination” during an era of political reformation in Brazil, though not the betterment of gender issues as a whole.
    The film begins by depicting the murder of a man’s wife and her lover, as discovered by Mr. Nacib, the films protagonist.  He then rushes to his bar to spread the news of this “crime of passion”, where the majority of his patrons agree with the deceased’s fates. Mr. Nacib even says their punishment was unsuitable compared to the ways of his country which was governed more by the “Law of Cain” as Beese would express (much more conservative in gender relations as the son of an Arab in 1925).  However, though the town knows the perpetrator, he goes unpunished for the murders on the basis their murders were considered his wife’s fault and not his.  This practice, as Beese explains, was one of commonplace, with murders of passion increasing between 1919 and 1924 (speculated in part), as women’s rights were virtually nonexistent in Brazil’s social climate.  The films characters do however represent Brazil’s changing social atmosphere.  Mr. Nacib is a representation of the developing modern man, rooted in the customs of the past (such as the legality of “crimes of passion” and the importance of honor, or rather the avoidance of being a cuckold) yet a man who, once he discovers Gabriela’s infidelity, does not kill her nor her lover (his best friend), but instead springs for an annulment by exploiting the falsification of her records (though not without some convincing, as he originally believes he is dishonored and must leave town to avoid being branded a “cuckold” like the friend in his tale; this consequently also represents the common belief that a man who did not take action against an adulterous wife was thus dishonored and weak).  In this, Nacib shows the push for Brazil to become a more civilized society by moving away from the old customs (such as killing adulterers) in place of more worldly and liberal ideas as Beese notes, “thus the attempt to curb wife-killing - a practice newly considered to be barbaric and anti-social - formed part of a larger project to “civilize” and “elevate” Brazilian society.”  It is because of this change in Brazilian society that Nacib leaves Gabriela and Tonica alive, as he follows the new bourgeois ideal of reason and rationality (according to Beese), instead of violence and passion. 
    The film displays a woman’s place in society, as Nacib continually berates Gabriela after they are married for her actions and what he conceives to be “low-class” behavior.  Lower class women, especially those of color, were without rights and were generally uneducated and illiterate.  Though the film touches on the atrocity of “crimes of passion” in post-colonial Brazil and the issue of gender relations in this time, it does so superficially, avoiding the politics of the period which generated the socio-gender change that began during this period thanks to the formation of CBHS in 1925 and the subsequent court cases that followed.   It does show the beginning of such changes through Nacib and Gabriela’s relationship, in addition to showing the atrocities committed against women during this period educationally and socially and their inability to fight back in such a male dominated society.