The Mist in the Palm Trees is an aggressively unconventional, non-narrative film that at first blush seems to be a ramshackle biography of a fictional photographer-physicist named Santiago Bergson. Under that surface, though, The Mist in the Palm Trees is concerned above all else with memory, and the role images play in creating and maintaining it. Like Chris Marker's similarly-themed Sans soleil, the film is constructed from a combination of stills and moving images. While Marker’s work featured images he himself created, The Mist in the Palm Trees is composed entirely of found footage, be it archival silent films or personal photographs from the 19th century. From these disparate sources, directors Carlos Molinero and Lola Salvador create a sense of life and loves for their character, thus creating a series of images that -- done over two years of editing -- casts doubt on the reliability of images in general.
Within the context of the film, images are present in three primary frameworks. The first framework is provided by Bergson himself, who narrates the segments representing his own memory. These sections of the film are dominated by his romance with Lucrezia, a woman whose photograph we see on-screen again and again. She is posing for his camera, nude but for a necklace, her body bent to one side as if she has just finished disrobing. Her eyes make contact with the camera’s lens, and she stares out at us with a quiet confidence; no matter whose eyes have access to her body, it suggests, she is equal to them all. Wherever Bergson went in the world, his life was dominated by this woman and his memories of her; those memories are represented primarily by sepia photographs and jerky, silent film footage of the distant past.