Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Kristen Stewart Is First American Actress Nominated for César Awards in 30 Years; 'Saint Laurent' Leads with Ten Kristen Stewart Is First American Actress Nominated for César Awards in 30 Years; 'Saint Laurent' Leads with Ten How They Sustained the Times Square Momentum in 'Birdman' VIDEO How They Sustained the Times Square Momentum in 'Birdman' VIDEO 6 Things to Know About Sexy Sundance Breakout 'Diary of a Teenage Girl,' Part of Sundance's Women's New Wave 6 Things to Know About Sexy Sundance Breakout 'Diary of a Teenage Girl,' Part of Sundance's Women's New Wave Sundance Raves About Ewan McGregor as Jesus and the Devil in 'Last Days in the Desert' Sundance Raves About Ewan McGregor as Jesus and the Devil in 'Last Days in the Desert' Watch: Jason Segel on Playing David Foster Wallace in Sundance's 'End of the Tour' (Exclusive Interview) Watch: Jason Segel on Playing David Foster Wallace in Sundance's 'End of the Tour' (Exclusive Interview) Filmmakers, Give Us Your Numbers! Sundance and Cinereach Unveil The Transparency Project Filmmakers, Give Us Your Numbers! Sundance and Cinereach Unveil The Transparency Project Sundance Market Explodes with 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' and 'Diary of a Teenage Girl' Sundance Market Explodes with 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' and 'Diary of a Teenage Girl' Top Ten Takeaways: Polarizing 'American Sniper' Speeds Past $200 Million; Lopez Trounces Depp Top Ten Takeaways: Polarizing 'American Sniper' Speeds Past $200 Million; Lopez Trounces Depp Arthouse Audit: Panic Time? 'Mommy,' 'Red Army,' 'Black Sea,' 'Cake,' 'Duke of Burgundy' All Disappoint Arthouse Audit: Panic Time? 'Mommy,' 'Red Army,' 'Black Sea,' 'Cake,' 'Duke of Burgundy' All Disappoint 2015 PGA Winners: 'Birdman' Steals 'Boyhood''s Awards Season Thunder 2015 PGA Winners: 'Birdman' Steals 'Boyhood''s Awards Season Thunder Watch: Nicole Kidman Talks 'Strangerland' at Sundance (Exclusive Video Interview) Watch: Nicole Kidman Talks 'Strangerland' at Sundance (Exclusive Video Interview) Sundance Acquisitions Market Heats Up with 'The Bronze' and 
'The Witch' Sundance Acquisitions Market Heats Up with 'The Bronze' and 'The Witch' Sundance: Netflix Inks Four-Picture Deal with Duplass Brothers Sundance: Netflix Inks Four-Picture Deal with Duplass Brothers Early Reviews Portend Sundance Breakout in Stylish Historical Horror 'The Witch' Early Reviews Portend Sundance Breakout in Stylish Historical Horror 'The Witch' Sundance: 5 Things to Expect From Alex Gibney's Damning Scientology Doc 'Going Clear' Sundance: 5 Things to Expect From Alex Gibney's Damning Scientology Doc 'Going Clear' Martin Scorsese Breaks Long-Awaited 'Silence,' Set to Begin Filming This Month Martin Scorsese Breaks Long-Awaited 'Silence,' Set to Begin Filming This Month Watch: Meet the Women of 'Birdman' (Exclusive 4-Minute Featurette) Watch: Meet the Women of 'Birdman' (Exclusive 4-Minute Featurette) Watch: Hitchcock's Thwarted Holocaust Documentary Comes to HBO Watch: Hitchcock's Thwarted Holocaust Documentary Comes to HBO Best Actor Oscar Predictions 2015 UPDATED Best Actor Oscar Predictions 2015 UPDATED Oscar Predictions 2015 Oscar Predictions 2015

Telluride XL Day Four: Mystery Doc 'Galapagos Affair,' Guest Directors Don DeLillo and B. Ruby Rich, 'Inside Llewyn Davis' and More

Thompson on Hollywood By Meredith Brody | Thompson on Hollywood September 5, 2013 at 11:58AM

I started the day with cold leftover coffee and the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction documentary, "Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden," by the celebrated Bay Area documentarians Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller ("Ballets Russes"). I cannot imagine picking up and moving to a deserted island even today, much less in the 1930, when three disparate groups of people fled Europe for life on an uninhabited bay on one of the smallest islands of the Galapagos.
0
'The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden'
'The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden'

I started the day with cold leftover coffee and the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction documentary, "Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden," by the celebrated Bay Area documentarians Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller ("Ballets Russes").  I cannot imagine picking up and moving to a deserted island even today, much less in the 1930s, when three disparate groups of people fled Europe for life on an uninhabited bay on one of the smallest islands of the Galapagos.  

Apparently all it takes for Trouble in Paradise is two groups -- there's a Nietzschean couple vs. a more homely family unit -- but when the bizarre menage-a-trois of a self-styled Baroness and her two boy toys move in, all hell breaks lose, ending in mysterious disappearances, apparent murder and death by misadventure.  The starry voice-overs (Cate Blanchett, Diane Kruger, Josh Radnor, Connie Nielsen) already suggest the cast for a mini-series.  We're told that Zeitgeist, the distributors who picked up the film before its Telluride showing, told the filmmakers that they didn't have to lose a frame, but the film also features contemporary interviews with some descendants of other hardy Galapagos pioneers.  Some judicious trims might speed up the unfolding of the film noir tale, which boasts amazing period footage, including a short fiction film shot on the island featuring the Baroness as a temptress exhibiting barely-veiled breasts.

I am thrilled and delighted that there's been a repeat scheduled of Guest Director Don DeLillo's program, and I heed the siren call of Olathe sweet corn before lining up outside the Sheridan Opera House.

"The Umbrella Man"
"The Umbrella Man"

The Don DeLillo program is uniquely interesting, uniquely Telluride.  The novelist, introduced by Berkeley professor and author Mark Danner, reads excerpts from his books "Underworld" and "Libra" (an examination of the life of Lee Harvey Oswald up to the assassination, inspired when DeLillo learned that he had lived within a few blocks of Oswald in the Bronx during a year of adolescence). He presents a short film that repeats the 26.2 seconds of the Zapruder film of the motorcade before, during, and after the shots were fired on November 22, 1963.  Afterwards there's a conversation among Danner, DeLillo, and documentarian Errol Morris, who also shows a short film he made for the "New York Times," "The Umbrella Man," about a mysterious man with a black umbrella, held open on a sunny day, visible in the Zapruder film and other photographs taken that day.  An extra treat! 

And then the program ends, mysteriously, with a beautiful half-hour film by Victor Erice, "La morte rouge," made in 2006, about the first film he ever saw, at the now-vanished Casino in San Sebastian, Spain, "The Scarlet Claw," a Roy William Neill Sherlock Holmes programmer, which Erice invests with beauty, mystery, and meaning.

Afterwards I ask several people what the first film they saw was: mine was Disney's "Cinderella," Michael Pollan's was Disney's "Snow White," Alice Waters' was "The Wizard of Oz."  I don't mean to sound elitist, snobbish, or precious, but two of the best films I have seen at this year's Telluride are vintage shorts:  this one, and Maurice Pialat's ten-minute 1960 "L'amour existe," ("Love Exists").  If I tell people this when they ask me what I've liked best, I'm afraid they'll find me, well, elitist, snobbish, and precious.  But I would like not only to own these films, but to share them.

This article is related to: Festivals, Telluride Film Festival, Telluride, The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden, Inside Llewyn Davis


E-Mail Updates