Couple Unveils True-Crime Mystery in Galapagos Affair

Filmmakers investigate murder story on famous islands
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2014 7:46 PM CDT

(Newser) – A pair of married San Francisco filmmakers stumbled on an unexpected mystery at the Galapagos Islands—and it had nothing to do with Darwin, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller were visiting for a film project when they read about a German philosopher and his mistress leaving their spouses and sailing to the islands in 1929 for a life of idyllic isolation. But when their life was publicized, "copycat pioneers" showed up, tempers flared, people clashed, and within two years four of them were dead. So Goldfine and Geller made a new film, Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden, and discovered much more than a far-flung murder mystery.

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"The film's themes suddenly expanded to include layers of cultural history and humanity's broader search for paradise," Geller says. "What is it? Does it exist? And can it be a kind of Eden when you're a kid and not when you grow up?" They would chronicle some 20 characters—including a German family living in a cave and a gun-toting baroness trying to build a high-class hotel—but ended up delving into deeper philosophical questions about happiness. "It is such a profound drive we each have to seek out that which will make us most happy—and maybe that is all paradise is," says Goldfine. See the trailer, or what reviewers are saying at Rotten Tomatoes. (Read more documentary stories.)

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