This weeks’ movie, Gabriella, was a parallel representation of the struggles between genders and the progress/improvement of a Latin American society in the early to mid 20th century. The gender struggles and improvements that were made during this time are observable through Gabriella’s and Mr. Nacib’s relationship and that of the relationships of the people within the society. Also, as a more subtle undertone, there is the issue of the changing government and that struggle between the traditionalists and their progressive opponents. This movie depicted a terrible and horrific, socially accepted, tragedy that span from 1910-1940 that was basically a massacre of Brazilian women.
The movie starts out with Mr. Nacib witnessing the aftershock of a friend’s homicide against his wife and her lover. The startling/sickening part was that the man was not taken to jail immediately after, instead he was sitting in a room full of high ranked men toasting to the murder of the slain couple. As they were toasting the murder they were discussing how the man should not worry because no one would convict him for such a just retaliation. This is something that Susan Besse discussed the murder of a man’s wife and her suitor was defendable by the argument of “crimes of passion”. And this was an actual argument that was used and very affective during this time, that is until the CBHS campaign was established. This group was formed in order to change the legal systems way of looking at and judging this issue, its purpose was to change the societal acceptance of “crimes of passion”. This seems to be displayed in the movie when Mr. Nacib catches Gabriella with her suitor, also his best friend, and does not kill either of them. Mr. Nacib having done this first starts a trend in the non-retaliation of adultery with another couple having been caught and simply kicked out instead of killed. This seems to mirror the progress in gender equality that was actually happening through the 30’s to 40’s. The massacre of women apparently reached an all time high in the 20’s and early 30’s until finally women and the legal system had enough and decided to try and look for other punishments instead. They seemed to turn to other countries for example of legalities and government.
There was also the other issue that was not as in your face as the murder issue, which was the changing government. As previously mentioned the Brazilians were looking more to other countries to model their government after, and that meant change which not everyone would have been on board with. When change is being presented there is always a struggle with the traditionalists which could be seen in the film with all of the arguing in the bar and the assassination of a political figure and new port being opened and the men sort of being on opposing sides of an argument. This progression and resist to change can also be seen in the issue of “crimes of passion” issue. Some men saw non-retaliation to adultery as a weakness or that women were starting to get out of line or not be in their “place”, so murders spiked there for a while almost to the point of hysteria which would have caused even more problems.