Movie #12 2023: Fire of Love (2022)

I truly love a documentary. Especially when they focus on a topic I’m absolutely not fussed about and it makes me care about it by the end. Sadly, this year’s Best Documentary Feature nominees at the Academy Awards are somewhat inaccessible in the UK, with Fire of Love being the only one on any streaming service or screening in a local cinema. Alas, it seems I won’t be able to see all of the nominees in that category this year, which is a real shame because if they’re anything like this one, I’m sure they’re outstanding.

Fire of Love is a rather simple premise: it centres on Katia and Maurice Krafft, a couple who just so happened to also be volcanologists. In fact, they met purely because of their mutual love for their craft (sorry about the pun), and then dedicated their entire lives to following volcanic eruptions and assessing them in the name of science. This documentary is pretty much a quick run down of The Kraffts’ lives, what they did together, and how they met their demise.

My overriding thought as I watched this one? What a pair of absolute nut cases. I love them. This film’s subjects are purely bonkers, which in turn makes you absolutely fascinated by them from the get go.

Framing Fire of Love as a volcanologist love story is actually genius in hindsight. There are so many people who would not be interested in a documentary about science or volcanoes or geology, yet centring the film around the couple’s relationship makes it all so accessible, since suddenly it becomes a documentary about a rare human connection that just so happens to involve volcanoes. Genius.

In all honesty however, I’m a huge nerd and I am totally here for the volcanoes. The images the Kraffts managed to capture using their little 70s and 80s cameras are actually beyond belief; I certainly haven’t seen volcanic eruptions like this so up close before. It’s hard to believe that all of this imagery is made up using real time footage (alongside a few charming animated sequences) from the actual film’s subjects and that it paints a cohesive, comprehensive picture of their lives and their love. 

More than anything, Fire of Love does a wonderful job of showing how heroic these people were. It manages to squeeze in pure grief and contrast that with the joy that comes with scientific research saving thousands of lives extremely well, and in turn becomes unlike most other similar documentaries. I won’t ever watch it again, but its visuals and the story behind them are something I’ll never forget. 

On the whole, I can easily see why this is nominated for Best Documentary. It really has a little bit of everything, although it does feel a little bit long when it comes to the end product. I’d be surprised if it won the award, but I wouldn’t be against it either… especially if it’s the only nominee I get to watch.

Fire of Love is currently streaming on Disney+ in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

Performance: n/a
Costume & Set Design: n/a
Overall Enjoyability Rating: 


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