Fire of Love (2022)

Fire of Love (2022)

Movie Details

Fire of Love (2022)
Director: Sara Dosa
Cast: Katia Krafft, Maurice Krafft and Miranda July
Movie Genres: Documentary/Romance
Release date: 6 July 2022
IMDB Rating: 7.6/10
Languages: English and French. It is also available in many other languages, including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, and Punjabi.
Duration: 1h 34m


Fire of Love (2022)


The young documentary filmmaker Sara Dosa overtook the famous veteran Werner Herzog and in the first half of this year successfully completed the festival circuit with a documentary about one specific married couple. While the German film giant had already come across the archives of the Krafft couple during the preparation of his documentary Into the Inferno from 2016, and this year his film The Fire Within, focusing directly on this couple, should premiere, the American filmmaker managed to go through hundreds of hours of material faster and her grasp of the unusual she presented the relationship already this year at Sundance film festival and very successfully.

In the center of the action are Maurice and Katia Krafft. The natives of eastern France met during their studies at the University of Strasbourg in the late 1960s, and it immediately sparked a relationship and professional relationship between them. Geologist Maurice and Geochemist Katia were united by their love of volcanoes, the astonishing forces dormant inside our planet – and occasionally bursting unexpectedly to the surface. Not as unexpected as previously thought, however: Maurice and Katia’s research during the 1970s and 1980s helped to understand several principles behind these monstrous natural phenomena.

The edited documentary is based on approximately 250 hours of material from the Kraffts themselves (primarily from Maurice) and another approximately 50 hours of their television appearances. During the pandemic lockdowns, Dosa received digitized recordings directly from the French archive and subsequently created a picture of this quirky couple from them with her colleagues, even with the occasional help of playful animations or illustrative shots. In her own words, she tried to capture the love triangle between Katia, Maurice, and the volcanoes – and this connection, without enhancement, turned out to be crucial.

Katia and Maurice seemed disppointed with the world of people, with the petty and short conflicts accompanying human everyday life. Perhaps that’s why they didn’t want to have children, and as soon as finances made it possible, they ran away from civilization to wild nature. Thanks to a shared passion, they found meaning not only for themselves, but also for the rest of society, and their usefulness was shown, for example, in the practical measures that some governments used to prevent the death of tens of thousands of people as a result of volcanic eruptions.

It is a shame that we will not learn more about the scientific activity or the more precise effects of the Kraffts’ work on the development of the field, and we must therefore content ourselves with extolling their vague achievements. At the heart of the story is love, and there is no need to spoil it with superfluous facts that… Anyway, it is nice to watch their development – from an almost childish fascination with natural forces to the need to transcend oneself and help other people. The film sympathetically reflects this shift with a change of mood in the second half, when the humor decreases and, on the contrary, social responsibility increases.

The central married couple (and especially Maurice) certainly did not avoid curious dangerous activities, at least initially, such as frying eggs on rocks heated by lava or sailing on a lake of sulfuric acid. Thanks to their repressed instinct for self-preservation, however, it was possible to shoot breathtaking footage of volcanic activity decades later, which in some places looks like computer-generated visualization, not like more or less amateur footage shot at close range on 16mm film. These moments of natural fury alone make the documentary worth seeing.

However, the aforementioned footage of the volcanoes did not contain sound, so it is supplemented artificially, and the framework of the narrative is provided by a soulful and light-hearted commentary read by filmmaker Miranda July. For music gourmet, Dosa occasionally pulls out a tune by Ennio Morricone. Thanks to the brisk editing, which in places sympathetically slows down and offers a meditative view of nature, the documentary looks quite modern, even though it is composed almost entirely of footage shot before 1991.

It is better to know as little as possible about the real fate of the Kraffts, thanks to which one can be carried away by the documentary form on the border between a natural history documentary, an emotional biography, and an associative video essay. Therefore, perhaps the picture will not satisfy those who will be tuned to only one of these formats and not the others; however, it will serve more than well as a complex film work presenting with humor and fatality one story influencing the history of the 20th century.

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