Fire of Love – 5 stars
Katia and Maurice Krafft were world-famous scientists who started studying active volcanos up close and personal in the late 60s. She was a meticulous geologist. He was a daredevil who dreamed of riding a lava flow on his own boat. They grew up in the same town, and as depicted by writer-director Sara Dosa, they were in a multi-decade menage-a-trois with the fiery, fracturing earth. “Once you see an eruption, you can’t live without it because it’s so grandiose, it’s so strong,” says Katia. And you believe her.
The footage shot by the Kraffts is incredible. They have no reticence and little fear, often camping for weeks in active volcanos, so they are right up close to everything, two kindred souls in thrall. Their story is lovingly rendered by Dosa, who shows us a union fueled by adventure and enhanced in its last years by a commitment to governmental evacuation plans.
I was reminded of Grizzly Man in terms of access to the dangers of nature. And indeed, the protagonists of both movies eventually press their luck and nature exacts its toll. But where Tim Treadwell’s immersion in the world of bears seemed fraught with an almost messianic hubris and his own narcissism, the Kraffts seem noble in their bravery and grounded in their devotion to the science. Beautiful and haunting.
On Hulu and Disney and nominated for an Oscar as Best Documentary.