Even in the most desolate areas, love can spark.
Beginning in the 1960s, Fire of Love is a new documentary that tells the incredible story of Katia and Maurice Krafft, two volcanologists who found love in one another’s arms. For over twenty years, the Kraffts travelled the world, examining eruptions and chronicling the wonders set before them. Although they passed away in 1991, the work that they accomplished helped change the way we understand the natural world.
Following the journey of Katia and Maurice Krafft, Fire of Love is the beautiful and tragic tale of one couple’s determination to solve the mysteries of the universe in the most dangerous of places. Directed by Sara Dosa, the film uses archival footage to piece together a loving portrait of the couple, chronicling their relationship from beginning to end. While the details of their first meeting remain a blur, their story is well documented. Drawn together by their mutual passion for geology, they spurred one another on to become the world’s leading volcanologists.
Although their personalities clashed at times, there is a warmth and affection between the two that anchors their story and fuels their work. (And this is the most dangerous of work, with the potential of either of them disappearing at any time.) Maurice is seen here as a bold man, willing to explore anywhere yet also rarely thinking of the consequences of his actions. (For example, despite the dangerous terrain, Maurice takes the time to literally fry an egg on the ash.) Meanwhile, Katia is shown to be wise and thoughtful, yet often concerned about her husband’s antics. Even with their differences however, their relationship is one of mutual support and care.
Even in the midst of destruction, they’ve found a home with each other.
In fact, the visuals add to the uniqueness of the story. By emphasizing footage of the bubbling magma from the earth, Dosa highlights the sharp reds that penetrate the shadowed blacks and greys of the terrain. In the midst of this desolation, there is heat that has the potential to change everything. The footage is remarkable and one can almost feel the heat as it emanates onscreen. (Incidentally, Dosa also seems to use this imagery to mimic the relationship between the Kraffts, a couple that live boldly on the edge of desolation yet the spark of their love stands out amidst the emptiness.)
However, what is most striking about the couple is their humility before the natural world. While there are those who may have disagreed with the risks they took together, they are simply enamored by the force of nature that stands in front of them. For instance, at one point, Katia speaks about the power they bear witness to and the humility that it forces them to feel.) They do not tread arrogantly into their experiments but out of respect and admiration for the forces before then. Standing at the edge of nature’s wildest offerings, they know that they are at the mercy of the elements. There is a recognition that man is not greater than the power of creation and yet they are draw towards it.
Dangerous, absolutely. But also stunning.
Featuring strong visuals and a compelling subject, the heart of Fire of Love is the the heat that exists between the Katia and Maurice Krafft. Although they sometimes disagree, we understand their dedication to one another almost immediately. A couple working together in this field is a rarity yet their mutual respect and support fuels their work.
Because of their love and commitment to one another, there’s a willingness to draw nearer to the flame until the very end.
Fire of Love is available in theatres on Friday, July 22nd, 2022.