Poetic, mysterious, glamorously deadly, Sara Dosa‘s Fire Of Love (2022) is a fascinating watch, not only due to its unrivalled archival footage which the doomed lovers, Katia and Maurice Krafft, accumulated in their many years of cutting edge vulcanology – but because this is a film about the enduring unknowability of the origins of a passion – the bittersweet impossibility of capturing the state of love.
The subtle emotion which Dosa endeavours so diligently (and intelligently) to depict, through the juxtaposition of breathtaking imagery from the Krafft vaults, with the hypnotic narration of Miranda July, speaks of a bond between two people – a quality of quiet loyalty, fiery intellectual exchanges, but most importantly of exceptional camaraderie in the face of the hazards of a shared obsession- a heightened sense of kinship perhaps only truly encountered in the existential extremes of a catastrophe, or war.
Roaming against the backdrops of some of the most dangerous places on Earth, intentionally heading towards volcanic eruptions entire cities are fleeing from – the slopes of their beloved red and grey giants – photographing molten lava in full rage, measuring the heartbeat of our planet, predicting its destructive volatility – the life of the Kraffts was one of both scholarly rigour and daredevil action. Maurice, the one who was leading the way in the ever increasing odds of an almost inevitable dire twist of fate – the final encounter with the eruptive forces of nature reaching their durability threshold.
His almost capricious expedition into a lake of acid, on a simple float, was met with visible distress from Katia – and was in many ways a shadow of things to come.
Their joint decision to focus their attentions on the killer type of vulcano, the ones that brew unpredictable gas explosions due to an internal pressure, rather than the calculable risks of the ones erupting with lava streams, due to rupture – led them to the volcanic explosion in Japan in 1991, their final call. The Kraffts’ legacy, and the invaluable research they left behind, however, has already saved hundreds of thousands of lives.
A beautiful doc about the wild character of nature. Both of human nature – and one made of stone.
Author: ©Milana Vujkov