The 1983 movie Gabriela is a simple tragic love story. Gabriela has a young heart and is somewhat tomboyish. She has an immediate physical attraction to Nacib after he offers to hire her to be his cook. Nacib, however, takes a little while to warm up to having the same feelings. Eventually Tonico, Nacib’s friend, talks him into marrying Gabriela. Ironically, sometime later in the marriage, Nacib walks in on Gabriela and Tonico in bed together. Initially Nacib was filled with rage and wanted to kill them both immediately, but he chose to walk away.
The movie opened with Nacib walking Gabriela to his house and on the way finding his friend leaving the Dentist office in a panic. After a quick investigation he found that his friend had just killed his wife and her lover, the dentist. The Besse article begins with mentioning that during the period the movie was set in, husbands had the legal right to kill his wife and her lover. It continues to discuss that women were being killed “in flocks”. Giving men the right to kill their wives and lovers would keep them from second guessing their actions and act in a passionate rage. However, with this being said, no one in the movie made the immediate action look easy. The first man who killed both his wife and her lover left looking very shaken up and scared. Then when Nacib had the chance to do the same, he couldn’t bring himself to even complete the task. This movie is a great example as to why the move to end this law was needed. The law not only gave the men the right to kill their wives, but it also made them feel somewhat obligated to. After Nacib walked away from the chance to kill Gabriela and Tonico, he talked with a friend about leaving because he felt ashamed. Nacib felt like less of man because his wife and friend went behind his back to be with each other. This law had a hold on the men psychologically.
According to the Caulfield article the women during this period were also very rebellious. Therefore the law was probably set by a group of men trying to regain their power and orderly society back. The most logical way to fix things, at the time, was to kill those who were rebellious. In the movie Nacib served drinks to a group of government officials who were making a toast to the man who had just killed his wife and her lover. They saw it as a good thing, hoping it would set an example for the other women out there. Looking back, historians show that over time, this law may not have been the best move considering how many people were killed. It would take generations to fix both problems now, the women rebelling and men feeling as though they had the right to kill women if they didn’t act right. And the problem starts getting fixed when Nacib shows a little compassion for Gabriela. Somewhere inside he truly loved her and couldn’t bring himself to kill her, and eventually enjoys her company again.