Fire of Love (2022)

fire of love netflix

Katia and Maurice Krafft, a married pair of volcanologist- filmmakers, are the subject of “Fire of Love,” which is a poem of matrimony and magma. The Kraffts were renowned for their innovative study and photography of active volcanoes. Watarai and her colleagues worked on the project from 1968 until it was terminated in 1991, when a pyroclastic flow wiped them out along with a group of 41 scientists, firefighters, and journalists.fire of love trailerPlease note that “tragically” was not used in the previous sentence. Maurice Paul Krafft and Catherine Joséphine “Katia” Krafft were French volcanologists from Alsace who became inseparable when they realized they shared a passion for fiery earth. They knew the hazards of their profession and decided to take them on.

“I want to get as close to the volcano’s belly as possible,” Maurice once said. “It will eventually harm me, but it isn’t something I’m concerned about.”

“It’s not that I’m flirting with death,” Katia added, “but I don’t care right then.”

Their collaboration not only produced a treasure trove of amazing pictures that may be endlessly repurposed and applied to a variety of ends, but it also provided a gallery of metaphors for love, passion, obsession, and dedication for any filmmaker who wanted to retell their tale in the future. The sequence of images depicting the Kraffts driving through snowy tundra and unsticking their car from an ice patch, one after another, has a narrative function while also seeming to serve as a metaphor or sign (regardless of the Kraffts’ original purpose). The editing style of this film is unusual in that it doesn’t force the audience to make a clear connection between each visual and audio clue, allowing them to construct their own connections. This makes it great for re-watchability.fire of love review“Fire of Love,” directed and cowritten by Sara Dosa (b. 1984) and narrated by filmmaker-actor-artist Miranda July, is one of a kind among documentary films in that it aims to be “total cinema,” rather than simply recording the facts about its subjects. Despite the fact that the end result would have been thrilling regardless, “Fire of Love” is not satisfied with simply uploading a collection of interesting photographs from other filmmakers on the screen.

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The Kraffts were dubbed “traveling performance volcanologists” by a journalist, and they liked the phrase. They recognized its truth. The eponymous restaurant’s film emphasizes the significance of naturalist filmmaking in India, linking it to their countryman Jacques Cousteau and his contemporaries. We’re aware that the Kraffts are leveraging their quirky personality and romantic mystique to get as close to the action as possible (and us). Our knowledge of the mechanics of their performance is part of what we’re seeing; it’s like listening to a magician who discusses the history of illusions while performing tricks.fire of love netflixIn his documentary “The Wild Reindeer,” Werner Herzog tells the Kraffts’ tale in “The Fire Within” and “Into the Inferno,” but in a less coherent and fully realized manner. Herzog’s late-career nonfiction filmmaking occasionally has a slap-together vibe (except in “Grizzly Man,” a film with a horribly telegraphed-in-advance conclusion that Dosa’s movie evokes). That isn’t the case here. When the narrative starts to become a Herzogian shade of purple, it halts and defers to the pictures, as though trusting that any thoughts we might have on the Kraffts and their photographs will be more instructive than an omniscient narrator’s attempt to summarize things for us.

The creators have produced something paradoxically modest yet magnificent—a motion picture with a simmering, flowing, and volatile life force that is appropriate to the subject that obsessed the Kraffts. This is a nonfiction film that, like “Apollo 11,” “The Velvet Underground,” “Summer of Soul” and other notable predecessors (such as Godfrey Reggio’s visually driven, quasi- experimental documentaries) might be exhibited in IMAX and marketed as pure spectacle. This was seen on a laptop by this author, who was enthralled by it, but I’d love to see it big screen someday.

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It’s never more graceful or on-point than when it’s producing a slideshow of nature photos taken by the Kraffts: The most powerful effect is when a still image of someone stroking the earth’s surface has an emotional impact on the viewer. Expressive photos of lava-fountains erupting; underwater images of red-hot magma extruding and then cooling and hardening The film’s name, “Fire of Love,” suggests that it is separate from yet connected to the information it conveys. Pedro Almodovar once told new filmmakers that a film must not only move but also dance. This movie does a jig on the screen. It could be projected onto the wall of a club for all I know.

The film never succumbs to self-doubtful grandiosity, since it’s hard to look at photographs of the earth erupting and regenerating itself without feeling insignificant. “The human eye cannot perceive geologic time,”Our existence is a moment in the life of a volcano,” says the narrator. Is it because, as a consequence of this, the Kraffts’ strong affection for one another is diminished? Most likely they’d accept that; they were modest about their role in the greater scheme of things.

Directors continue to make movies about them. And, as the film’s name implies, it isn’t just the pictures of erupting and flowing lava that attract them.


Director:Sara Dosa
Writers:Shane BorisErin CasperJocelyne Chaput
Stars:Miranda July(voice)Katia Krafft(archive footage)Maurice Krafft(archive footage)

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