'Galapagos Affair': True Story of Doomed Idealists

EYES IN Editor-in-Chief Vivian Van Dijk is live at Berlinale. She screened 'The Galapagos Affair' today and says, "It is interesting to learn from people who have tried to find paradise before World War II that their conclusion is that paradise is not a place, but a condition. And, that you will never find it if it is the person him or herself who troubles its existence, because one's own soul can never been left behind...

"A spectacular, fascinating documentary has been made by Dayna Holdfine and Dan Geller. It is a document of the past that is applicable in every time-frame we live in. Human nature will always keep the beauty and the beast's side, depending on the circumstances and environment.

"The Galapagos Island, Floreana, did not live up to the paradise ideal, neither did it bring the 'paradise mindset' upon the very small amount of people who went there. Holdfine and Geller have done an amazing job working with historical images, documents and diaries to bring this story of real experiences to life."

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Synopsis of The Galapagos Affair

In 1929, Friedrich Ritter, a staunch devotee of Nietzsche, and his lover Dora Strauch decide to begin a new life far away from the constraints of social convention. They head for Galapagos, a then little-known group of islands off the coast of Ecuador, where they meet other German émigrés. Each has his or her own reason for coming to the island of Floreana.

The immigrants include the petit bourgeois Wittmer family who want to live their lives in close communion with nature, and an eccentric woman who describes herself as a baroness and dreams of opening a hotel for well-heeled tourists. One day, she and her lover disappear. At this point the documentary turns into a whodunit; using rediscovered archive footage and interviews, the film tries to find out if the couple were murdered and if so, by whom.

The Galapagos Affair adopts a fascinating format in which to tell the true story of a group of idealists who emigrated in order to turn their visions into reality. Like many who have grown weary of civilization, they too come to realize that paradise must remain a utopian dream, if only so that we may continue to search for it.


Dayna Goldfine, Dan Geller


Stimmen: Cate Blanchett
Diane Kruger
Thomas Kretschmann
Sebastian Koch
Josh Radnor

Add'l source: Berlinale

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