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FIRE OF LOVE (2022, USA) – 8.5/10

When I’m stuck with a few average or below-average feature films, I usually seek refuge in documentaries. I rarely miss this, and this impressive film about the pair of volcanologists Katija and Maurice Krafft was no exception. This French couple became famous back in the seventies, when they were perhaps the most responsible for the popularization of volcanology, and luckily, they both recorded where they went with their cameras and recorded it all. American documentarian Sara Dosa made her way through that mountain of Krafft archives and made a film composed exclusively of their archival recordings. There is also the narrator Miranda July, who reads in the off what these hunters of eruptions who died in the early nineties while hunting for the eruption of a Japanese volcano.

However, just as much as “Fire of Love” is a story about volcanoes, the fascination with that still quite inexplicable force, it is also a story about love, because it was volcanoes that brought these two people together when they were still students. So we follow their story from the second half of the sixties and the protests against the war in Vietnam, when Maurice tells how people disappointed them and they decided to devote themselves completely to volcanoes. And they were fully aware that they were gambling with their lives, almost playing Russian roulette every time they approached the crater of an erupting volcano. But it was clearly stronger than them, especially at Maurice, and we’ll see here some of the most fascinating volcano footage ever.

Far from the fact that the Kraffts risked their heads solely for some exhibitionism, they tried to find an answer to the question of whether the exact time of the eruption can be predicted. Although more than 30 years have passed since the death of the Kraffts, “Fire of Love” brilliantly captures their essence, and it is a masterfully directed and edited film that is both a visual treat and a deep, existentialist observation of both people and that fascinating natural world. phenomenon. As Maurice himself says, curiosity was much stronger than fear for them, and the way they tried to show volcanoes to the public and bring them closer to the average viewer is somewhat reminiscent of what their much more famous compatriot Jacques Cousteau did when it came to oceans.

“Fire of Love” brilliantly conveys their passion, fascination and even fascination with that miraculous natural phenomenon that can wipe everything in its path off the face of the earth in a few minutes. It is interesting that the great Werner Herzog only marginally dealt with the Kraffts in the documentary “Into the Inferno”, that in the same year when “Fire of Love” appeared, his full-length documentary “The Fire Within: A Requiem for Katia and Maurice Krafft” appeared ” which I haven’t been able to watch yet. However, Dosa’s film is stylistically completely different from what Herzog has been shooting in recent years, which, whether we want to admit it or not, has already caught up with the ravages of time. “Fire of Love” had its premiere at Sundace, was then shown at numerous world festivals, won countless awards, and can be found on numerous lists nominated for various awards.