Last summer, I had the pleasure of attending the 19th annual Golden Apricot International Film Festival in Yerevan, Armenia. On its last and hottest day, I sat down in a stuffy, un-airconditioned theater to watch, fittingly, Fire of Love (2022), a documentary from Sara Dosa that follows the lives and careers of daring French volcanologists Katia and Maurice Krafft via archival footage.
An eruption of color and sound (no pun intended), Fire of Love is mesmerizing, and it would seem that the Academy agrees; the film has just been nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary Feature Film category.
The documentary’s focus is twofold, as it explores both the relationship between Katia and Maurice as well as their relationship to their dangerous line of work, volcanology. It was fascinating to see the tapes they had collected throughout the years, with close up shots of lava oozing and splashing and hardening that had me bewitched. I felt I was peering into another world entirely, one of intense beauty and immense danger.
The Krafts knew that the best way to study volcanic eruptions was to get up close to them, and their extensive collection of footage of these eruptions is nothing short of remarkable. It at once demonstrates the diligence and dedication that these scientists paid to their work as well as the deep love and admiration they had for the phenomena they had the privilege of witnessing.
Fire of Love is a love letter to two scientists who loved their work more than their own lives.
Along with the sense of awe that this footage lends to the Krafts’ story, Fire of Love maintains a sort of light humor that mirrors the good naturedness of its subjects. Embracing the psychedelic and vibrant style of the late 60s, Sara creates a film at once kooky, fun, and thought-provoking. It is a love letter to two scientists who loved their work more than their own lives. In silvery flame-retardant suits with pointed hats, they walked the line – literally – between danger and safety, alien silhouettes against a fiery red backdrop that may well have been Mars.
This isn’t Sara’s first taste of acclaim. Her directorial debut, The Last Season (2014), which follows two war veterans turned mushroom hunters, was nominated for the Independent Spirit “Truer Than Fiction” Award in 2015. In 2019, her film The Seer & The Unseen (2019), which explores the life of Icelandic seer Ragnhildur Jónsdóttir, won awards at film festivals worldwide. Her directing work focuses on the human relationship with non-human nature, often exploring themes of interconnection, myth, ecology and economy told through personal character stories.
Here’s to more from Sara Dosa! In the meantime, you can stream Fire of Love on Disney+.
© Roza Melkumyan (2/9/23) – Special for FF2 Media®
LEARN MORE/DO MORE
Read the rest of my feature on the 2022 Golden Apricot Film Festival in Yerevan (Armenia).
CREDITS & PERMISSIONS
Featured Photo: Katia Krafft wearing an aluminized suit standing near a lava burst at Krafla Volcano, Iceland. (Photo Credit: Image’Est)