“The Fire of Love”
Metacritic (7/10), Letterboxd (3.5/5), Imdb.com (7/10)
There’s no telling why two people fall in love. They may be attracted to one another’s physical attributes. Or, in some cases, they may be drawn to each other’s personalities. Or, in yet other cases, they may share passions that bind them almost as strongly as their mutual affection. In the case of Maurice and Katia Krafft, there was some of all of the above, but what really drove them as a couple was their shared interest in … vulcanology. Now, the study of volcanoes is not a particularly common interest for anyone, especially for a romantic duo, but, for this happily partnered Alsatian twosome, it was a source of commitment for their life’s work and to one another. Director Sara Dosa’s latest offering explores the unconventional lives of this quirky, unlikely pair, examining what brought and kept them together for years as they built a solid relationship while compiling an impressive body of work about their field of study. The film consists almost entirely of material from the Kraffts’ archives, including media appearances where they discussed their groundbreaking findings and a truly spectacular collection of footage from their globetrotting adventures to investigate volcanic eruptions. The filmmaker meticulously documents the courageous daring with which they approached their work, their fervor for devising safety recommendations for those living in high-risk areas, and the unexpected sense of humor and whimsy with which they often went about their field studies. This Oscar nominee for best documentary feature is indeed an interesting watch, though given the niche nature of its subject matter, it may be a little on the long side for some viewers, even with a runtime of only 1:33.00 (it ultimately may have worked better as an episode of a PBS nature series). Nevertheless, if nothing else, enjoy this one for the stunning natural beauty so vividly on display here, a show better than anything that could be produced with CGI.