Fire of Love

Hot documentary erupts with dazzling images and human studies.

It’s said in the documentary “Fire of Love” that there isn’t another volcanologist couple like Katia and Maurice Krafft, or at least not very known. They both met on a blind date, shared a love for volcanos, chose not to start a family, and focused more on there risks of chasing erupting volcanos. The title isn’t called “Fire of Love” for nothing. It makes a lot of sense.

Movie titles have to sell the movie, and convince audiences the movie is as electrifying as the title suggests. A fun example is how the 1994 romantic comedy “It Could Happen to You” had the original title “Cop Gives Waitress $2 Million Tip,” which was actually better than the new title. I even did a poll on my Instagram story on which was better, and the few people who actually voted chose the original title wisely.

The point is that “Fire of Love” is a documentary that should sell itself quite well in expressing these Alsatian French people, who wanted to capture the most glorious shots of volcanos and their eruptions. The introduction, narrated by Miranda July (“Kajillionaire,” “Me and You and Everyone We Know”), warns us that they will die on one of their adventures. They were both killed by the eruption of Mount Unzen in 1991, but they left behind a number of images, videos, and questions.

On the side, the movie makes a distinction between red eruptions and gray eruptions. Red eruptions can make shields and lava lakes, while the gray eruptions are deadlier and more explosive. And then, there are mud volcanos. Maurice burnt his leg going near the stuff, while in 1985, the eruption of Nevada del Ruiz attacked some towns in Tolima, Columbia in what was known as the Armero tragedy. And no thanks to the government, the people were unaware of what was yet to come.

Not every question gets answered (at least I’m not sure what other questions there are), but “Fire of Love” shows us the pure beauty of volcanos as well as the two people who risked their lives to witness the forces of nature. It’s about love, loyalty, friendship, and adventure, and there’s a unique character study of how Katia and Maurice Krafft collaborated, had their differences (Katia being a chemist and Maurice being a geologist), and knew the science and temperatures of their journeys.

Last week, I was disappointed in “My Old School,” which was a documentary about a man who posed as a student. The problems with it were its motivation and animation style for the flashback segments. “Fire of Love” is a real movie with real motivation and real feelings. It’s all told with education, footage, and heart all around. Hearing the Kraffts speak their hearts out and Miranda July narrating their story is all exhilarating. And so is the movie. Kudos to filmmaker Sara Dosa for presenting it.

PS. There’s a scene in the movie when Maurice cooks some eggs on some magma, and says: “They’re not great. I usually make them better than this.” This is me saying: “How crappy can they be?.”

Rating: 3.5 out of 4.

Now Playing in Select Theaters

Categories: Documentary

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