Fire of Love

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Katia and Maurice are a married couple who share a passion. They’re volcanologists from France. As you probably can deduce, that’s a scientist that studies volcanoes. The Kraffts are geologists that focus on their incendiary formation and explosive activity. They travel the world looking for the next eruption. The beauty of this documentary is twofold. (1) It profiles two idiosyncratic individuals who together risk their lives doing something they love. (2) It highlights some of the most awe-inspiring footage of active volcanoes I have ever seen. This is where the program excels.

Images and music artfully combine in this hypnotic record. Assembling the Kraffts’ archival material, director Sara Dosa (The Last Season) presents breathtaking closeups of fiery mountains and rivers of fire. This is a loving tribute to the pair who truly cherish each other and I’d speculate volcanoes even more. Given its somewhat cheesy title, you fully expect to hear Jody Reynolds’ 1958 rockabilly hit (later covered by The Gun Club) pop up somewhere. That tune never appears, but the soundtrack does include an original score by Nicolas Godin, half of the French duo Air. The group’s songs “Clouds Up” and “Casanova 70” also appear.

“Curiosity is stronger than fear.” Filmmaker / performance artist Miranda July provides the narration. Her words prepare us for the inevitable. The work of Katia and Maurice started in the late 1960s and abruptly ended in 1991. A pyroclastic flow on Japan’s Mount Unzen wiped them out, along with 41 others. Yet it’s apparent in every frame that they were fully aware of the danger in which they willingly placed themselves. Maurice mentions a desire to row a titanium canoe down a river of lava. He wasn’t kidding. Maurice never did that, but he and Katia do things that defy death many times over. At one point, they enter an active volcano site and walk on black lava. The magma oozes from the underground depths of the earth and hardens, but it still emits fire from the cracks. Anyone witnessing their startingly closeup video of blazing eruptions as their backdrop will be amazed. “How in the world did they shoot this?” is a question I asked myself repeatedly throughout the 94-minute runtime. I could’ve watched a feature twice in length. As such, the rewatchability quotient is exceptionally high.

Fire of Love is currently streaming on Disney+ and Hulu. The movie received a limited release (191 U.S. theaters) by National Geographic Films in July 2022. It will compete for Best Documentary Feature at the 95th Academy Awards on March 12.


6 Responses to “Fire of Love”

  1. Eric Robert Wilkinson Says:

    Saw this over the summer. Yes a very good doc. Also bought but yet to watch the werner herzog doc released around the same time same subject called the fire within a requiem for love

    Liked by 1 person

    • Two movies on the same subject released within a year of each other…Immediately I think of
      (1) Deep Impact & Armageddon
      (2) Infamous & Capote
      (2) Antz & A Bug’s Life
      (4) The Jungle Book (2016) & Mowgli which was delayed to (2018) due to more special effects work.

      Any others?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Eric Robert Wilkinson Says:

        Realize it’s not the exact same thing we’re talking about but I always think there were 3 actors w the same agent working overtime in 1998… Vince Vaughn Joaquin Phoenix and Anne Heche were all in return to paradise… a month or two later Vaughn and Phoenix appear on clay pigeons… and of course that Nov Vaughn and Heche appear in gus van Sants much maligned psycho remake

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds incredible, and also a good companion piece to The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari. Seems there are a number of volcano-related docs on offer. Just reviewed that one and I’d highly recommend as well, it’s a spectacle in itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved the scenes of various volcanoes. The couple were so brave and daring. A little crazy too. 4 ⭐️


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: