Why on earth are there human beings? The fact that we exist has always been taken for granted. And, thanks to Charles Darwin, we also know that in all probability we are descendants of some ape-like creature.

But just how did this development come about? Are there any signs that Nature intended it that way? Or did it happen just like that – without any real need?

COINCIDENCE IN PARADISE investigates these sorts of fascinating questions by interviewing and observing people who have dedicated their lives to research into this secret.

In the film we meet some of today’s most influential scholars working on research into prehistoric man – people like Kamoya Kimeu (Kenya), the world’s most renowned and successful fossil collector; Meave Leakey (Kenya), the palaeontologist responsible for one of the most significant finds to do with the origins of mankind; Tim White (USA), Professor of palaeontology who has been engaged in work in Ethiopia on the oldest traces of mankind to date and which were allowed to be filmed for the very first time ever.; John Gurche (USA), anthropologist and artist, famous for his realistic reconstructions of primitive man; Christophe Boesch, Swiss biologist who has been observing chimpanzees in their natural African habitat for 18 years and, in this way, doing research on the common roots of man and the chimpanzee; Elisabeth Vrba (USA), Professor of palaeontology who, in Botswana, who conducted studies of the environment that provides the living conditions most comparable to those of our earliest ancestors.

In deserts, primeval forests and laboratories Matthias von Gunten’s film delves with these research scholars into the millions of years old history of our origins, constantly seeking an answer to the question of what exactly it was that first initiated our origins so very long ago.

birdsnest_poster_150 Documentary, CH/A 1999, 88′, Video/35mm, colour

Director Matthias von Gunten

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