Friday, August 19, 2022

Fire of Love

Sara Dosa: Fire of Love (CA/US 2022). A non-fiction film based on the lives, films and archives of the volcanist couple Katia Krafft and Maurice Krafft. The harnesses are made of titanium. Red volcanoes are safer. Gray volcanoes are the most deadly.

Fire of Love / Fire of Love.
    CA/US © 2022 Fire of Love Productions.
    D: Sara Dosa.
    Non-fiction film based on the lives, films and archives of the volcanist couple Katia Krafft and Maurice Krafft. The original footage was shot in 1,37:1.
    Includes animated passages.
    Narrator: Miranda July.
    98 min
    Festival premiere: 20 Jan 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
    Finnish premiere: 19 Aug 2022, released by Cinema Mondo with Finnish subtitles by Miika Tuohima.
    No pandemic restrictions.
    Viewed at Finnkino Strand 2, Iso Kristiina, Lappeenranta, 19 Aug 2022.

Fire of Love”: Would You Die for Science?

By Vanessa Zimmer (Sundance Film Festival 2022)

"Despite Fire of Love’s awe-inspiring images of fire spewing and spattering from the mouths of volcanoes — and then oozing and pulsating downward like a blazing snake —  what endures after this film ends are the beaming faces of Katia and Maurice Krafft."

"Slight Katia and curly-haired Maurice became media darlings for their on-site observations and documentation of volcanic eruptions in the 1970s and ’80s. She a geochemist, he a geologist, they turned to the Earth because they were “disappointed in humanity,” said Maurice. But they also absolutely loved chasing and studying volcanoes; they could not imagine doing anything else."

"Their footage, still photos, media tours, and books (19 of them!) contributed to a greater understanding of the science and danger of volcanoes. By filming the fury and devastation of eruptions, the Kraffts aimed to influence better warning systems and government evacuation policies."

"In a Q&A following the premiere of Fire of Love Thursday night, director Sara Dosa said her crew stumbled onto the work of the Kraffts while working on another film project. They marveled at the absolute treasure trove of footage within the Krafft archives. But the couple’s love story, their playfulness and devotion to each other, sealed the decision to tell the volcanologists’ story. “They were passionate about volcanoes, but also about life itself,” said Dosa. "

"The Kraffts would walk within feet of the glowing lava flows and peer down into the maw of a crater. “I want to get closer, right into the belly of the volcano,” said Maurice. “It will kill me one day, but that does not bother me at all.” "

"And in fact, that is what happened. In an effort to unravel the unpredictability of killer “gray volcanoes” like Mount St. Helens, which emit dense clouds of burning ash, the French couple, both just in their 40s, lost their lives. They perished in a pyroclastic surge, a sudden, billowing cloud belched from Japan’s Mount Unzen in 1991, as they and companions observed from a not-distant-enough green hillside.
" (Vanessa Zimmer, Sundance Film Festival 2022)

AA: Fire of Love, Sara Dosa's outstanding documentary film about the volcanist couple Katia Krafft and Maurice Krafft, evokes thoughts.

It is an atlas and a travelogue of the world's volcanoes which the Krafft couple studied first hand. We learn that each volcano is an individual, but there are two main categories. The red ones one can live with but the gray ones are the most dangerous. Despite extensive scientific study, we have not learned to predict when volcanoes erupt.

Fire of Love is love story of the Kraffts with the volcanoes, but not in any kinky sense. The Kraffts are fascinated by the Earth and its power. They identify with the Earth's mysteries, not only with the organic nature, but especially geology. We are reminded that there is no hard border between the organic and the inorganic. Fertile ground emerges from the ashes of grey volcanoes.

The movie is also a love story between the Kraffts. Opposites attract, and are united by a common passion.

Until WWI, classical aesthetics was based on the keywords "beautiful" and "sublime", the latter meaning experiences that transcend the limits of human understanding. After WWI it became awkward to use either word in art criticism, but in nature documentaries "the sublime" retains its original value and sincerity. Fire of Love is all about the sublime in the classical meaning. Also the sexual symbolism goes without saying.

Equally unobtrusively, Fire of Love is a grand allegory, familiar from the expression "dancing on a volcano". Alban Berg used it to describe the Weimar Republic in 1933. Jean Renoir used it about La Règle du jeu, made on the eve of WWII. Today, the allegory is more potent than ever.

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