Screened as part of NZIFF 2014

The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden 2013

Directed by Dayna Goldfine, Dan Geller

A flamboyant Viennese baroness and her two lovers bring mystery and murder to a lonely Pacific paradise in this lavishly archived, stranger-than-fiction documentary whodunit.

USA In English
120 minutes B&W / DCP


Dan Geller
Dayna Goldfine
Celeste Schaefer Snyder


Dayna Goldfine
Dan Geller
Celeste Schaefer Snyder. Based on the books
articles and letters of Dore Strauch
Margret Wittmer
Friedrich Ritter
Heinz Wittmer and John Garth


Dan Geller


Bill Weber


Laura Karpman


Cate Blanchett
Diane Kruger
Connie Nielsen
Thomas Kretschmann


Octavio Latorre
Fritz Hieber
Jacqueline De Roy
Gil De Roy
Tui De Roy
Teppy Angermeyer
Steve Divine
Carmen Kubler Angermeyer
Jacob Lundh


Berlin 2014


Almost improperly entertaining, this
documentary whodunit spins a tale
of utopian ideals, sexual intrigue
and murderous jealousy – all on
tiny Floreana, one of the Galapagos
Islands. The events it describes were
a media sensation in the 30s, thanks
in large measure to the enthusiastic
on-film cavorting of the story’s
flamboyant femme fatale. Filmmakers
Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller (Ballets
Russes) have restored a cornucopia
of reportage, archival film and
photography and enlisted top-line
voice talent, including Cate Blanchett,
to explore this bizarre tale anew.
In 1929, German physician Friedrich
Ritter abandoned wife, family and
civilisation to settle on unoccupied
Floreana with Dore Strauch, his patient
and lover. They were followed, to their
displeasure, by another German family.
Not long after, the so-called Baroness
Eloise von Wagner showed up with
her two lovers and threatened to turn
Ritter’s island of glorious isolation into
a tourist resort. Hacienda Paradiso!
When American philanthropist George
Allan Hancock met the Baroness on
one of his frequent research trips to
the Galapagos, she fast became his
most exciting discovery. The stage
was set for her international fame and
a sharp decline in the population of
“I’ll spill nothing… A story this well
told deserves to be relished. Goldfine
and Geller pace and structure The
Galapagos Affair like the true-crime
tale that it is, its mysteries rich and
involving, its characters enduring in
the imagination long after the film has
ended.” — Alan Scherstuhl, Village