The 1984 film Gabriela, directed by Bruno Barreto, shows the changing social structures of Brazil as the country attempts to become a more civilized one. Throughout the film the audience is given glimpses at the economy of Brazil at this time. The culture of Brazil is changing to a more economic one. Along with the economic shift, the audience also sees the cultural shift in the role of women and how gender roles evolve throughout the nation.

In Gabriela, the main character is Mr. Nacib. Mr. Nacib owns a bar where all of the men get together and gossip about everything from politics to their economic situation. In Susan Besse’s journal article, The Campaign Against Wife Killing in Brazil, she talks about how during the times when men were being tried for murder that “the courtrooms were filled to capacity with spectators who came to witness the public drama” (Besse 643). Mr. Nacib’s bar was a key element to the movie because historically at this time everybody wanted to gather and socialize about the goings on of the time.

The film starts with Nacib walking into the dentist’s home and finding that the dentist has killed his wife and her lover for their crimes. Besse’s article goes over the importance of the transition in Brazil, from being a society that kills because of passion (very barbaric) to a society that is more modernized and shows acceptance and growth of the European culture. According to John Charles Chasteens’ book, Born in Blood and Fire, he gives insight to the way Brazil looked at the other super nations at this time. Brazil was no longer thousands of miles away from Europe, because now they were connected to Europe by a trans-Atlantic telegraph system. In the movie the advancement of technology can be seen by the building of the port and the hiring of the engineer. Things were definitely changing, and these changes were essential to the views and acceptance of women and the nation.

With the economy moving upwards, there were more job opportunities for the lower classes to move away from the agricultural jobs of farming and into the cities to work.  This also meant more jobs for women. This was very influential toward the gender roles changing throughout this time.An example is how Mr. Nacib, once married to Gabriela, is so happy to do structured things as a couple, like attend a poetry reading together, because it was a part of the social norm. Last week the class saw the patriarchal role of Camila’s dad, which was very traditional. This week, Gabriela shows the audience the evolution of the views of women and Brazil’s evolving social acceptance of their evolving. At the beginning of the film, it is clear that Brazil is accepting of the killing of wives who cheat on their husbands. The Brazilians evolve and become more accepting and less violent. This is shown when Nacib does not kill Gabriela or her lover when he finds them in his house together. Also, the dentist is not let off the hook for his murders in rage. This shows how the thinking of those in Brazil had evolved to a more modern view toward marriage and commitment.

Overall, the movie Gabriela, though not an actual account based on a true story, represents the history of Brazil evolving through time. The movie shows the changing and more accepting gender roles, and the evolution of the economy, and that Brazil was embracing modernization.