Fire Of Love Review

Fire Of Love
Maurice and Katia Krafft loved volcanoes, and each other. The French couple dedicated their lives to witnessing the most dangerous eruptions in the world in order to better understand the people in it — and filmed it all themselves, in order to remember every minute.

by Ella Kemp |
Published on
Release Date:

29 Jul 2022

Original Title:

Fire Of Love

The thing that French volcanologist Maurice Krafft worried about most in his lifetime was that “the spectacle could vanish”; that all the wonders of the natural world he witnessed would fade from view. He and his wife Katia saw things more beautiful and dangerous than any of us could dream of, visiting every possible volcano to better comprehend the natural forces that frame our world. The couple filmed everything: eruptions, discoveries, each other — stolen moments, immortalised so they could always hold on to them. It is a poignant and illuminating tribute to these lost pioneers, to have all of it brought to life in Sara Dosa’s documentary.

A beautiful distillation of two peoples' determined lives and loves.

The filmmaker — whose academic background in cultural anthropology is of clear and great benefit here — fills the gaps in the Kraffts’ hundreds of hours of 16mm footage, all of which was silent when she found it. Dosa recruits fellow filmmaker Miranda July to narrate the film, reading a poetic script co-written by Dosa. It’s both in the questions July-as-narrator asks of the Kraffts, and the emotion July-as-herself gives with her performance that has a tender, almost ASMR quality to it. “Understanding is love’s other name,” she whispers, as Maurice and Katia fall in love in a montage scored by Brian Eno’s lush, romantic 1975 song ‘The Big Ship’. You can feel your heart bursting.

But there’s never anything saccharine in this love story, with Dosa and co keeping a firm grasp on the Kraffts’ ambition and intelligence. There will always be some gaps left to fill — moments where both the archives and the filmmakers’ imagination can’t quite put all the pieces of the jigsaw together. Still, the Kraffts warned so many around the world of the dangers of volcanoes, avoiding major natural disasters and teaching us how to better care for the planet so it can, in some way, love us back. At one point Maurice says he hopes that by living far away from humans up in the clouds and mountains that he’ll learn to appreciate us a little better. In Fire Of Love, a beautiful distillation of two peoples’ determined lives and loves, we are taught to understand the relationship between the world and ourselves: how love can sometimes be the most potent thing worth remembering.

A story of love and discovery told with curiosity and care, Dosa honours her unique subjects — lending tenderness and poetry to the archive footage.
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