While the film Gabriella was on the surface a film about the relationship between a business owner and his servant it delved into greater issues that have affected Brazilian society; the main one of these being class and gender relations. In the film’s opening the main character Mr. Nacib walks in to discover the bodies of a couple slain by the woman’s husband who discovered their affair. Instead of the man being taken to jail he was taken to drink in a room full of other wealthy men who assured him there would be no consequences for his actions and they praised him for his crime. The author Susan Besse discusses these “crimes of passion” and the movement for change in her article ‘Crimes of Passion: The Campaign against Wife Killing in Brazil, 1910-1940’. These crimes were originally allowed because it was Portuguese law, which Brazil accepted as their own. Her article states the reason for this call for change was the greatly increasing number of violent crimes that were being committed against women. As the number of murdered women grew, it began to shake society and become increasingly prevalent in the public’s awareness. At the end of the film we see the husband who committed the crime tried and convicted this was meant to be a sign of the changing times in Brazil.
Suann Caulfield’s article ‘Getting into Trouble: Dishonest Women, Modern Girls, and women-Men in the Conceptual Language of “Vida Policial’ focuses more on the concept of changing gender ideals and presentation in society along with gender relations. In the film we see the relationship between Gabriella and Mr. Nacib and how it progresses and changes due to societal influence. As a servant it was acceptable for Gabriella to be wild and expressive, frolicking with children, not wearing shoes, etc. But after she becomes married and rises in society it becomes expected of her to be more refined and cultured, this places a strain on their relationship. Caulfield’s article mentions how the changing social structure for women placed a certain tension in society due to the turbulence it created.
Overall after reading the articles this movie is able to be considered relatively historically accurate in the context of ideas of crimes of passion and abuse towards women. The relationship between the character Gabriella and the more elite members of society, Mr. Nacib included, does not seem as plausible. Not in the context of their sexual relationship but the idea of a wealthier business man marrying his servant doesn’t seem to fit. The film portrayed the town’s lifestyle extremely well and it was interesting to watch because of the many different types of people it showed. Although historically pretty accurate it did focus a lot on the personal relationship of Gabriella and Mr. Nacib and contained many unnecessary sex scenes and nudity.