Palm Trees in the Snow

Palm Trees in the Snow (Spanish: Palmeras en la nieve) is a 2015 Spanish romantic drama film directed by Fernando González Molina. The screenplay is based on the novel of the same name, Palmeras en la nieve, by Luz Gabás.[1]

Palm Trees in the Snow
Palm Trees in the Snow - poster.jpg
Palmeras en la nieve
Directed byFernando González Molina
Written bySergio G. Sánchez
Based onPalmeras en la nieve
by Luz Gabás
StarringMario Casas
Berta Vázquez
Adriana Ugarte
Macarena García
Alain Hernández
Music byLucas Vidal
CinematographyXavi Giménez
Edited byIrene Blecua
Verónica Callón
Nostromo Pictures
Dynamo Producciones
Atresmedia Cine
Warner Bros.
Release date
  • 25 December 2015 (2015-12-25) (Spain)
Running time
163 minutes
Benasquese (Patués)
Budget€10 million


Kilian is a young man from the mountains of Huesca who, in 1954, returns to the island of Fernando Pó (present Bioko), where he was born. He joins his father Antón and his brother Jacobo. They are one of many Spanish colonialist families who harvest cocoa.

The movie opens in 1968 with Kilian and Bisila making love. Shortly after, Killian departs, leaving behind a half-torn picture and his hat as a memento for Bisila. Flash forward to 2003 Pasolobino, Spain, where Clarence is attending the funeral of her estranged father Jacobo. After the funeral Clarence and her cousin Daniela discuss the possibility of selling the family land. They also discuss Daniela's father, Kilian, who is suffering from dementia. While in Killian's office Clarence finds a journal, a half-torn picture and a torn note stating that money has been sent to an unidentified woman. Clarence asks Julia, an old family friend, about the note. Julia admits that her deceased husband Manuel wrote the note but she doesn't know who the woman is. Clarence tells Julia that she will travel to Bioko in Equatorial Guinea to find out more about her father's life. Clarence also decides that if there are relatives in Bioko she will bring them back to Spain. Julia tells Clarence to look for a man named Simon, who was Kilian's houseboy and friend.

Flashing back to 1954, a young Kilian and Jacobo are saying goodbye to their mother and sister Catalina as they depart for Guinea. Catalina gives Kilian a journal and encourages him to write in it. On the ship to Bioko Kilian and Jacobo meet Manuel, the new resident doctor of the cocoa plantation estate. Once on land they are greeted by Kilian and Jacobo's father Anton, and his best friend Ose. On the plantation, Kilian has an unpleasant introduction to Gregorio, an abusive overseer. While in the cocoa fields Kilian wanders off into the nearby forest where he hears singing. He follows the singing to a waterfall where he sees a woman crying. Kilian attempts to introduce himself but after being distracted, the woman is gone. Later on a young Julia invites Kilian, Jacobo, and Anton to a dinner party at her parents' estate. During the dinner party Nelson, an estate worker, arrives asking for Jacobo's help with a medical emergency. Once in the car Jacobo reveals to Kilian that it was a ruse to leave the dinner party early to go to a night club called Santa Isabel. At the club, Jacobo encourages Kilian to drink and sleep with prostitutes.

Weeks later Anton, annoyed with Kilian's activities, takes him to visit Ose's village and introduces him to the Bubi people. Anton encourages Kilian to explore the land and get to know the locals. Sometime later Ose invites Anton and Kilian to his daughter Bisila's wedding in the village. When giving congratulations to the bride Kilian is surprised to see that she is the same woman from the waterfall. He immediately becomes attracted to her. During a lavish estate party Julia confronts Jacobo about his ruse at the dinner party, scolding him for his activities at Santa Isabel. Jacobo rebuffs Julia stating that they are not a couple and he will do as he pleases. Kilian introduces Manuel to Julia and they immediately become attracted to each other. Soon after, Anton's health takes a turn for the worst and he dies. At Anton's funeral Jacobo runs off into the forest. When Julia attempts to console him, Jacobo tries to kiss Julia, but she pushes him away, stating that she is engaged to be married to Manuel. Frustrated, Jacobo runs into the forest screaming. Filled with grief of his father's death, Kilian leaves Bioko and returns to Pasolobino for 3 years.

In present-day 2003, Clarence has arrived in Bioko, locates Anton's grave, and is introduced to Iniko, a plantation office employee. while driving Clarence back to her hotel Iniko detours to pick up his younger brother, Laha, who has returned home from university in Spain. Iniko and Laha show Clarence around town, and Iniko and Clarence gradually develop a relationship. Iniko reluctantly helps Clarence find out more about the coco plantation estate. After being met with hostility from the plantation workers, they are introduced to an elderly Simon. Simon tells Clarence that Iniko's grandfather, Ose, was friends with her grandfather, Anton. A confused Iniko demands to know what Clarence is really searching for. Clarence tells Iniko about her uncle Kilian and her father Jacobo, then shows Iniko the half-torn picture. A shocked Iniko tells Clarence that the woman in the picture is his mother Bisila. Iniko takes Clarence to the elderly Bisila's home, where Bisila tells Clarence her connection with Kilian.

Flashing back to 1957, Kilian returns to Bioko. Kilian visits Ose and the Bubi people at their village. Ose reintroduces Bisila (she states her name as Daniela Bisila), her husband Mosi, and their son Iniko to Kilian. Kilian then visits Santa Isabel looking for Jacobo. While there, Gregorio takes a prostitute at gunpoint after arguing over her with another man. Kilian talks Gregorio down and then takes Jacobo, Dick, and Pao back to the estate. The next day, Killian sends Jacobo on a plane back to Spain. Kilian visits Julia at her parents' store and they discuss the hostile changes of the political climate. Bisila arrives to tell Julia that her friend Gustavo, a local politician, has been attacked. Julia asks Kilian to assist her and Bisila with rescuing Gustavo, smuggling him through military checkpoints. At the estate Bisila, a nurse, attends to Gustavo's wounds. Killian and Bisila share a kiss, later meeting in a shed to make love. Though they try to keep their affair a secret, everyone on the estate finds out about the affair.

In 1964 Kilian's mother sends him a letter requesting he return to Spain due to his sister Catalina's declining health. Kilian stays in Spain for several months after Catalina dies. Jacobo returns to Bioko and visits Julia, telling her that he has met a woman in Spain. Jacobo makes another advance towards Julia, who tells him to leave. That evening at the estate, Bisila is followed by a car with a drunken Jacobo, Dick, and Pao inside. They proceed to beat and rape Bisila. Simon finds her and tends to her injuries. The next day Kilian returns, and Ose and Simon inform him of Bisila's rape. Dick and Pao's bodies are found hanging from a tree. It is implied that Mosi, Bisila's husband is taking revenge for the rape. Kilian tells Jacobo of Dick and Pao's deaths and then confronts him about Bisila's rape. Kilian beats Jacobo and warns him of Mosi's revenge. Later on Mosi attempts to kill Jacobo but Kilian arrives in the middle of the attack, giving Jacobo time to shoot Mosi dead. Kilian sends Jacobo back to Spain. Bisila tells Kilian that she must mourn Mosi's death for a year, after which she will be free to be with him. Kilian tells Bisila that he will wait for her.

In 1968, a new president is elected for the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, and the Spanish colonists are being forced to leave. Julia's parents lose their business and begin to make plans to return to Spain. Back at the estate, various overseers such as Gregorio have gone missing. While walking through the cocoa fields Kilian is approached by Militar and two other laborers. They force Killian to go deep into the forest, where he is forced to dig his own grave. Militar tells Kilian that he originally wanted to kill Jacobo for killing Mosi, but now Killian will pay the price. Simon arrives and convinces Militar not to kill Kilian. As Julia and Manuel are preparing to leave for Spain, Julia begs Kilian to leave with them and suggests he bring Bisila along. Julia brings Bisila to her home, marking the end of Bisila's year-long mourning. Bisila arrives with Iniko and her second son Laha, telling Kilian that he is Laha's father. The next day Julia, Manuel, Kilian, Bisila, and Nelson and his wife attempt to leave Bioko by boarding a ship to Spain, with other Spanish colonists and some locals. Julia and Manuel pass through the gate successfully, but a guard prevents Bisila and her children from passing because everyone considered Guinean is prohibited from leaving. The crowd becomes agitated and pushes the gate down, and the guards begin shooting at the crowd. Julia and Manuel escape on to a motorboat where Julia's parents are waiting, while Nelson is shot dead. Kilian and Bisila return to the estate, where they attempt to live together as a family but Kilian is eventually forced to leave alone.

In present-day 2003 Clarence returns to Pasolobino, where she visits the elderly Kilian. Clarence gives Kilian the hat he gave to Bisila. Upon seeing the hat Kilian remembers Bisila. Clarence begins to sing a song that Kilian heard Bisila sing when they first met. Back in Bioko, the elderly Bisila receives a letter from Spain informing of Kilian’s death. Bisila travels to the beach where she walks into the ocean tide. Iniko and Laha arrive in Pasolobino to visit Clarence, who introduces them to Daniela.



The film was shot in the Canary Islands, Huesca and Colombia.[2]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Awards Category Nominated Result Ref.
III Premios Feroz Best Original Soundtrack Lucas Vidal Nominated
30th Goya Awards Best Art Direction Antón Laguna Won
Best Production Supervision Toni Novella Nominated
Best Costume Design Lolés García Galeán Nominated
Best Makeup and Hairstyles Alicia López, Karmele Soler, Manolo García and Pedro de Diego Nominated
Best Original Song "Palmeras en la nieve" by Lucas Vidal and Pablo Alborán Won [3]


  1. ^ "'Palmeras en la nieve', segundo mejor estreno español del año con 3 millones". Vertele! (in Spanish). 28 December 2015. Archived from the original on 13 August 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  2. ^ Pastor, Custodio (20 April 2015). "El reto de 'Palmeras en la nieve'". El Mundo (in Spanish). Unidad Editorial Información General S.L.U. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  3. ^ Calvente, Carol (7 February 2016). "Pablo Alborán gana el Goya a Mejor Canción Original por 'Palmeras en la Nieve'". Europa FM. Madrid: Uniprex, S.A.U. Retrieved 17 January 2019.

External linksEdit