Directed by Sara Dosa — Narrated by Miranda July — Available on Disney+ now.
Sara Dosa’s Fire of Love chronicles the careers of famed French volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft from their early blossoming romance that took them close to burning hot lava to the unpredictable dangers of the gray volcano eruptions that eventually took their lives. Along the way, the documentary makes sure to emphasize how they were somewhat different, but also how devoted they were to one another, and how they eventually dedicated their lives to communicating the dangers of certain volcanoes and the need for proper timely evacuation.
I thought this was a really beautiful true story about lovers dedicating their lives to each other and their obsession for the good of mankind. As someone who only vaguely knew of them (admittedly, I had only heard of the way they passed but not by their names), I thought the various shots of them discussing their relationship were very quietly moving, sweet, and romantic. There is this extended sequence discussing how they first met that I thought was really cute and undeniably quite romantic, as their first love (volcanoes) brought them to each other. I also thought the moment in which the Kraffts insist that they should follow their curiosity rather than their trepidations was a really hauntingly beautiful message in spite of how their lives ended. I was also fascinated by the lengths Maurice would go to test the boundaries and dangers of his obsession.
It is also a tragic story of course, but the documentary does a good job of emphasizing how much they accomplished in moving closer and closer to the abyss, even though it caused their demise. I’m certainly no expert on volcano photography, but I was stunned and blown away by the photography. Their shots of volcanoes and lava are just jaw-dropping. This is especially true of their breathtaking shots of red volcanoes. In fact, I think their awe-inspiring shots and this film actually manage to communicate why Katia and Maurice thought the red volcanoes are so beautiful. You’re almost swayed, even when they look like the fires of Mt. Doom could swallow us all whole.
To add to that I was so charmed and impressed by how the narration and the documentary pointed out that even though Maurice Krafft insisted that they weren’t exactly cineastes just documenters, they absolutely gave great thought to how they should set up each shot and communicate the scale of things and the like. The film makes a great case for them as being true filmmakers with their dedication and spirit. Furthermore, I have to add that the way the documentary emphasizes the different kinds of volcanoes is simple but incredibly informative and taught me more about volcanoes than school ever got through to me.
Sara Dosa’s Fire of Love is a fantastic and, in moments, beautiful documentary about the fires between two people burning hot and the extraordinary external hotspots bringing them together. It absolutely is one of the best documentaries of the year also because it in moments emphasizes how it is of paramount importance to listen to scientists.
8.7 out of 10
– Review Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.