Screening Imperial Iberia Through Historical Fiction: Colonial Africa in Palmeras en la nieve (2015) and El tiempo entre costuras

This paper explores the ways in which two adaptations of best-selling Spanish novels transcend the literary sphere to achieve popular global acclaim: the film Palmeras en la nieve (director Fernando González Molina 2015) and the Antena 3 series El tiempo entre costuras (2013-2014). I first situate the filmic adaptations as transnational collaborations between diffuse colonial peripheries (Colombia and Morocco) and an imperial center (Madrid). I use Deborah Shaw’s work “Deconstructing and Reconstructing ‘Transnational Cinema’” to argue that while each literary work shows a unique glimpse at questions of memory and Spain’s past, encapsulating two distinct colonial eras and locations prior to the fall of Imperial Iberia in the 1970s, the filmic-television adaptations distinctly breach regional and linguistic communities through global distributors like Netflix, as well as the use of transnational film stars. While these works could arguably be called ‘solely Spanish’, they have nonetheless become globally popular. Reading the cinematic and television adaptations vis-à-vis the literary versions, I argue that recent Spanish historical fiction centered on Africa, in particular the historical romance genre, has garnered a global marketability previously unseen, exposing readers and viewers to lesser known colonial areas.




  • Indigenous Literature, Linguistics, Identity, and Policy