The next documentary I wanted to watch was spectacular and told a love story that I did not know between two people and a volcano. Or more accurately, many, many volcanoes.
Fire of Love is on Disney + and tells the story of volcanologists Maurice and Katia Krafft, who spent decades exploring, studying and recording information and imagery of volcano eruptions and their effects. The narrator of the documentary drops the knowledge early in the film that the couple’s fate was on the edge of a volcano, which caught me off guard.
The Kraffts was constantly recording their work together, providing us with some of the most amazing images of eruptions and of lava flowing from these volcanoes. The pictures were absolutely stunning and could have been enough for some docs. This, however, added the story of a pair of lovers who spent their days together knee deep in ash and volcanic mud.
Maurice and Katia could be considered strange with their obsession. Maurice spoke about his desire to float in a boat down a river of lava.
They showed a time when Maurice and another scientist went out at the the Ijen volcano, in the acid crater lake on a rubber raft. The doc showed us how the lake would dissolve material like nothing. It was astonishing.
There were some pacing issues with the film as it did feel as if it dragged at times. The film also some times lost focus on the connection of the Kraffts, which, when working, were some of the most compelling sections of the film.
However, the final days of their life, when they died in a pyroclastic flow on Mount Unzen, in Japan, on June 3, 1991, was amazingly heartbreaking and the video of the explosion, recorded by a journalist’s camera that was left behind was breathtaking. The film gave us the last picture taken of Maurice and Katia, together prior to the explosion.
This was an amazing documentary that, with just a few adjustments, could have been one of the best films around.