Gabriela was supposed to be a film about Brazilian social progress and social customs but instead got hung up on the emphasis of sex, scandal, and bare breasts.
According to the readings, it was acceptable socially for a husband that catches his wife to kill her and her lover. This is exemplified by the colonel in the film. However, Nacib did not act in this manner when he caught Gabriela and his friend in the throws of passion. Because he chose not to kill them he felt he would be ridiculed within the community, which shows how rooted the custom was in that society. Maybe he did not act in the socially acceptable manner because he was not fully entrenched within society due to his Italian and Turkish heritage. It shows how Nacib was a member of the community but nor fully devoted to the way of life.
The idea of progress was a major theme throughout the movie, but as was the idea of corruption. All of the important officials were involved in attempting to bring progress to the community, especially through business evolving around the canal. But at the same time the whole community was known for being found upon falsified documents and corruption. Also, there were instances of bribery and hire for kill. So as the community was in the midst of change it was also stuck in the rut of corruption. While the citizens were aware of the progress around them they could still not see past the corruption, which would not permit true progress. At the end the talks of progression changed to the ‘same old’ once the corrupt business man showed alliance with the new leaders of the community.
What was hard to understand was why Gabriela would betray Nacib the way she did. He got her off the streets and gave her everything she could have wanted. Was it because of her immaturity, age, Nacib’s long work hours? If she cared so much about him why would she act that way?
While the film displayed some of the aspects that were discussed in the reading, the film emphasized sex and scandal rather than the prominent issues of the society. The film detailed the sex lives of the citizens more than the activities of corrupt businessmen and officials. Now was this just a ploy to make the film more interesting or was it an emphasis on the important aspects of the social lives of the town’s citizens?
Either way, the sex in this movie did not sell and the business practices and scandals could have used more details to make them understandable. Instead, I was lost about who is corrupt and who is scheming but I am fully aware of who is cheating on who and who slept with who.