free webpage hit counter

‘Fire of Love’ review: A Volcanic Romance

‘Fire of Love’ review: A Volcanic Romance

The themes in Sara Dosa’s new documentary “Fire of Love” are Maurice and Katia Krafft, married French scientists who dedicated their lives to the study of volcanoes. However, it may be more accurate to describe the couple, who died in a volcanic eruption in 1991, as co-directors, since they were the ones who captured the most captivating images in this curious and haunting film.

These images, still and moving, record before, during and after volcanic eruptions on several continents. Some of these are frightening, as molten rock shoots up into the sky and clouds of ash roll down the mountainside. Others are eerie, capturing the glow of an active crater or the above-ground contours of newly formed rock. The very existence of these images is shocking when you consider how close the people with the cameras must have been to the lava and the smoke.

The forces, which grew up in Alsace, France, and met at the University of Strasbourg, were devoted to each other and defeated by Etna, Stromboli, Nyiragongo and other volatile places. As the film puts it – and archive interviews and broadcast appearances confirm – their shared interest was not just a professional matter. It was an all-consuming and ultimately fatal passion.

Maurice was a geologist and Katia a geochemist, and the difference between these disciplines is the occasional source of nerdy humor. A geologist, Maurice suggests, is one who paddles an inflatable canoe into a lake of sulfuric acid, while a geochemist has good sense to stay ashore to measure and collect samples.

See also  1More Evo review: A personal listening experience from a new challenger

The story, read by Miranda July, emphasizes temperamental contrasts between the researchers that are apparently confirmed by the images. Katia, birdlike and ironic, kept track of the data and took the stills, while Maurice, who looks like a curly lion cub, gave public lectures and used the film camera.

Out in the fields, on their toes over lava flows or trampled through ash and mud, they wore matching red woolen hats and silver-insulated jumpsuits and sometimes metal helmets that stretched over their shoulders to protect them from molten debris. “Fire of Love”, which also includes animated sequences, has some of the intentional enchantment of a children’s book. Even Maurice’s philosophical rhetoric – he and Katia were, after all, French intellectuals – has a naive charm, expressing a sense of inexhaustible, starry wonder.

The objects for that fascination are deadly destructive and frighteningly unpredictable, but for Kraffts, his father was part of the lid. “Fire of Love” is a romance in the shadow of tragedy. The fact of the couple’s death is determined early, and when the details are filled in at the end of the film, one knows more or less what is coming. What may seem like ruthlessness is part of a devotion that takes on a moral – even spiritual – dimension.

There is a reason why volcanoes throughout the history of mankind have been worshiped and soothed as gods. Maurice and Katia Krafft represent a secular, scientific variant of the ancient religion. They wanted exaltation, but they also wanted to be helpful. “Fire of Love” makes much of the difference between relatively predictable “red” volcanoes and their more deadly “gray” counterparts – “those who kill”, as Maurice puts it.

See also  'Better Call Saul' Season 6, Episode 9 Review: 'Fun and Game' Breaks

In recent years, Kraffts has spent most of his time studying the killers, hoping to discover patterns that would enable people living in the path of destruction to escape. They risked their lives to do this, and the film claims that their sacrifice was not in vain. More than that, it preserves their work and their distinctive, unforgettable human presence.

The fire of love
Rated PG. Geological violence. Playing time: 1 hour 33 minutes. At the cinema.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.