Sundance Film Festival: ‘Fire of Love’ Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

What do love and volcanoes have in common? Katia and Maurice Krafft. If you have never heard about these two lovely souls, director Sara Dosa brings them to the screen through their archive footage. For two decades, the daring French volcanologists were seduced by the thrill and danger of this elemental triangle. Everything that we have learned about volcanoes doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of how lethal, yet beneficial they are to our planet. It is a massive piece of rock that lives and breathes with the core of the Earth. Each volcano has different features that can form something new as the plates converge beneath the surface.

Katia and Maurice Krafft became the dream team who travelled to different locations, chasing eruptions and their aftermath. As they documented their discoveries with stunning photographs and breathtaking films they shared that with the public in media appearances and lecture tours. From the very first moment, we meet Katia and Maurice; their love for one another is the driving force of this journey. The documentary dives into their relationship and how their loneliness ultimately lead them to their passion for volcanoes. They were two halves of a whole and discovered so much together.

As we see in this documentary, venturing out to explore these volcanoes isn’t an easy task. There were some fun, lighthearted moments that showed Katia and Maurice’s playful side and their genuine love for each other. Katia was extremely detail-oriented which would keep Maurice grounded, while he focused more on the bigger picture. They complimented each other so well and fully trusted each other in order to complete their studies. The most beautiful moment was watching Maurice walk right beside the lava. The richness of the red tones against the black volcanic rock with Maurice in his white suit walking toward the camera is an image that I will never forget.

We find out later that Katia and Maurice lost their lives during a 1991 volcanic explosion on Japan’s Mount Unzen, but they definitely left a legacy that would forever enrich our knowledge of the natural world. Fire of Love is a very educational look at the importance of volcanoes and their aftermath. The strength of this documentary lies in their relationship because their trust flows through into their work as volcanologist partners. The fact that they stayed together through it all, side-by-side, making new discoveries and exploring what they love just made this a heart-warming documentary.

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