‘Fire of Love’ follows a bold couple with a passion for volcanoes ★★★★☆

‘Fire Of Love’: Katia Krafft at Iceland’s Krafla Volcano.Image Image’Est

If two people could say they danced on the edge of a volcano, it would be Katia and Maurice Krafft. The documentary Fire of Love shows how the French volcanologists found each other in their love for volcanoes, how that passion constantly drove them to eruptions and lava flows, and how they became real media heroes as a bold volcanologist couple. ‘It is no more dangerous than crossing the street in Belgium’, says Maurice in one of the television interviews in Fire of Love pass by.

What a blessing, can you think that the Kraffts did not die in Belgian traffic, but when they attended the eruption of Japan’s Unzen volcano on June 3, 1991. The fact that this (already revealed at the beginning of the film) feels like a happy ending shows how well the American director Sara Dosa succeeds in making you, as a spectator, fall for this special couple.

Fire of Love, propelled by the strong editing and music of Air member Nicolas Godin, consists mainly of bizarrely spectacular film images shot by the Kraffts, sometimes interspersed with sparkling animations. Besides the Kraffts, the volcanoes also get their own mention during the opening titles: they are indeed at least as important as the endearing couple you see walking along or even in their craters. Katia walking around quietly while just behind her a wall of lava shoots up like a fiery red, upward waterfall: you have to see it to believe it.

‘Katia is like a bird, Maurice like an elephant seal’, says Miranda July’s (sometimes a bit too) poetic voice-over, to point out their different personalities. Director Dosa also makes it pretty clear that the Kraffts knew exactly how to play themselves, both in their television appearances and in their own movies. To pay for their travels, they made wonderful documentaries and photo books that unraveled the mysteries of the volcanoes for a large audience (such as the difference between ‘red’ and ‘grey’ volcanoes) and pointed out the social dangers of careless handling of the fire-breathing mountain giants.

The most impressive thing about Fire of Love is the enormous calm with which the Kraffts worked: they were not only completely familiar with each other, but also with the volcanoes and with the considerable chance that they would not survive their passion. Their relaxed daredevilry yielded, if not the most beautiful, then at the very least the most intimate volcano images ever. Beautiful, how that nature fireworks in Fire of Love merges with the unquenchable romance of two mortals.

Fire of Love


Directed by Sara Dosa

93 min., in 55 halls.

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