Hot Docs ’22: ‘Fire of Love’ paints a portrait of love in magma

Katia and Maurice Krafft were rockstars in the field of volcanology. Among the earliest scientists to extensively film and photograph active and erupting volcanos, and often got as close as possible to the magma flows in an age when the unpredictability of the geological activity kept everyone else hundreds of feet away.

It is this love affair –both with each other and with volcanoes– Fire of Love takes a deep dive. This was a couple deeply committed to their field, one that had indeed found something they loved and thus never worked, but filmmaker Sara Dosa is able to paint a compelling portrait through their work.

While Dosa uses television interviews and excerpts from personal diaries, what makes Fire of Love an absolute beauty is its liberal use of the Krafft’s film and photography. It’s no exaggeration to say that they captured hundreds of hours of film of them working on active volcanoes, and almost all of that footage is breathtaking to behold. Presented with voice-over narration, the images of what the earth is capable of never fail to impress, and the interweaving of their love story ends up making both more impactful.

The film is not just a portrait of the Kraffts and their story but something more significant. There is a moment in the film where Maurice explains that both he and Katia had chosen geology because of their disappointment in humanity and their quest for something beyond human understanding. It’s a fitting metaphor for both their love for each other, for their work, and ultimately for something both just within and just beyond their grasp.

Fire of Love is earnest and awe-inspiring in equal measure and one that is not to be missed.

Rating: 4/5

Fire of Love played as part of Hot Docs 2022.


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