“A Woman’s Place” in Equatorial Guinea: Social Space and Privilege in Palmeras en la Nieve (2015)

Palmeras en la Nieve, the 2015 film directed by Fernando González Molina and based on the homonymous novel by Luz Gabás, focuses on the tumultuous and politically charged atmosphere in Equatorial Guinea from 1954 to 1968 through an exploration of privileges and social spaces that women in Fernando Po society occupy through both choice and obligation. The film manifests the struggles endured by Bisila, a woman belonging to the Bubi ethnic group indigenous to Fernando Po, and Julia, a Spanish woman of high social stature. These women are deemed powerless of creating their own personal spaces within their separate yet equally traditional societies without first apprising their family, primarily a male head of household, of their actions. The exploration of social space as well as privilege within Palmeras en la Nieve will be analyzed using Fredric Jameson’s concept of an imaginary, consciously and unconsciously conceived map that affects the very intentionality of life itself within a collective social community. While Bisila and Julia are of different races and experience privilege differently, they arguably meet similar obstacles within their confined social spaces in society. The experiences to which they acquiesce through work, matrimony, and simply being a woman will be examined throughout Palmeras en la Nieve to demonstrate that the women of Fernando Po, regardless of privilege, race, and societal status, were confined to varying degrees by social and societal mandates imposed by patriarchal, traditional expectations within Spanish and Bubi cultures and societies.



  • Indigenous Literature, Linguistics, Identity, and Policy