The old adage “Truth is stranger than fiction” holds true for the real life documentary/mystery feature, The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came To Eden. Zeitgeist Films (noted for bringing independent and foreign documentary films to U.S. screens), has picked up the U.S. distribution rights, which means this tale of murder, intrigue, and betrayal will be in theaters April 4, 2014.
The film is directed by Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine, who also penned the script with Celeste Schaefer Snyder. Geller and Goldfine are reprising their team efforts that won them the 2005 National Board of Review Award for their documentary Ballets Russes.
The Galapagos Affair: Satan Comes To Eden tells the true story of married Berlin Doctor Freidrich Ritter who left behind his wife and family to be alone with his much younger (also married) lover, Dore Strauch. The documentary follows their romantic scheme to run away to be Adam and Eve in paradise, selecting the Floreana Island in the Galapagos as their personal Eden. Ritter planned to work the land and write philosophy. All goes well until Heinz Wittmer and his family turn up following publicity of the couple’s romanticized escape to nature. All too soon, yachts and tourists began invading paradise as well.
With an abundance of still photographs and first hand commentary from collective journals, Geller and Goldfine are able to combine contemporary material, including dramatic readings by a cast which includes Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth, Blue Jasmine) as Dore Strauch, Thomas Kretshmann (Stalingrad, The Pianist) as Dr. Ritter, and Connie Nielsen (Gladiator) as Baroness Eloise von Wagner Bosquetwith (who dreamed of turning the island into a resort), with newly found footage of the actual events of the story. Diane Kruger, Gustave Skarsgard and Josh Radnor have supporting voice parts.
Jonathan Dana is producing along with Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine and Celeste Schaefer Snyder.