love documentaries because they tell stories about someone I know, but not that well, or they can tell a story about someone or something I don’t know very much about. That’s the case with Fire of Love. This documentary tells the story of two of the world’s best volcanologists, Katia and Maurice Krafft, and why they love each other as much as they love studying volcanoes.
Katia and Maurice Krafft met each other in the ’70s while studying volcanoes. They traversed the globe from Africa to South America and China to Canada. They studied everything that could be learned regarding volcanoes, from tectonic plates to lava rivers. They wrote books and made films documenting their studies. These two never wanted to do anything else with their lives. After spending so much time together, they realized they couldn’t be with anyone else, so they married each other.
These two people literally fell in love on the edge of a volcano. That’s only half the story, though. Katia was an intellectual, and she looked at things in a very intelligent, thought-provoking way, while Maurice was a more curious type of individual. He explored by getting close to the various volcanoes they studied. These two came up with the designation of volcanoes. Red volcanoes, which are less dangerous to research and spew chunks of lava for volcanologists, and grey volcanoes, which are much more deadly, erupt a large grey plume of smoke with hot ash that is very deadly to people in their path.
Maurice’s films allowed the world to understand volcanoes more thoroughly., but various countries they are in didn’t listen to Katia and Maurice when they said that things needed to happen to avoid a death toll due to an impending volcano exposition. An old saying I like to use is “You Can Lead a Horse to Water, but You Can’t Make It Drink,” which sometimes happens when it comes to the dangers of volcanoes. People weren’t totally sure they were that dangerous. That is until many people in their path died a most agonizing death from them. What Maurice and Katia were doing was very important, and people needed to take them more seriously.
The archival footage of Katia and Maurice in this film is eye-opening. How they got so close to so many dangerous volcanoes is crazy. The fact that they narrowly escaped death many times proved what they were doing was dangerous but very important as well. They used the money they were granted and made from their books and films to do more studying and teach the world about these deadly natural disasters and how they are connected to the planet in interviews on television. They were pretty awesome, and the world needed them.
Films that tell a true story and teach the world something it needs to learn about are truly rare. The pair of Katia and Maurice were very engaging, and I was glued to the screen every time one spoke or when they were on the edge of death. The narrator, Miranda July, a celebrity in her own right, kept my ears listening to her fullest tones. She kept me so in tune with everything I was watching. It is one of the best narrations I’ve ever heard in a documentary. She was as engaging as the main couple and all the volcanoes were.
Fire of Love was literally love of the edge. The two main stars of the documentary were very engaging and interesting to watch in this film. Their journey to explore and study as many volcanoes and let the world know about them wasn’t as successful as they wanted, but they did do a lot of interviews and wrote books and movies about the journies. The narroration by Miranda July is as engaging as the main couple and the volcanoes were. This is one of the best documentaries of this or any year.
4 1/2 stars
Dan Skip Allen