The couple risked their lives to take the best shots, their passion was the study of these giants of nature, now the documentary, "Fire of love", rescues their story for the general public
The disaster for
Cumbre Vieja eruption, on the Canary Island of La Palma, raised awareness of the overwhelming nature of volcanoes; Katia and Maurice Krafft, she a geochemist, he a geologist, dedicated their entire lives to the study of these giants and now a documentary, "Fire of love", rescues his story for the general public.
It has been the endeavor of the British
Sara Dosa, director, producer and screenwriter of the film, winner of the award for best editing at the Sundance Festival and for best film at DocsBarcelona, which has led to this documentary, made from 200 hours of unpublished archive material and the personal notes and writings of Katia and Maurice.
virtual interviewthe filmmaker explains that it was in Iceland, during the preparation of her previous film, "The Seer and the Unseen" (2019), about the founding of the island, while
I was looking for pictures of volcanoes from the 60s and 70s, he saw that "there weren't that many people who were dedicated to filming erupting volcanoes."
The Krafft's passion for volcanoes also
was seen in the archipelagospecifically in
Fuencaliente, in La Palmaduring the study of
Teneguia volcano. The couple published some photos and several articles on the final part of the eruption, in
Image made by Katia Krafft on the island of La Palma (1971)
«Almost only Katia and Maurice. And when we saw them we realized that they were spectacular. Then we got to know about her lifestyle and her love story, which was quite unique, and that's what grabbed us to tell her story," she adds.
So they got to
Image'Estan archive in Nancy (France), where almost all the material recorded, photographed and written by the Kraffts was deposited.
Maurice filmed in 16mm and Katia took photos at the foot of the craters. Dosa had never seen such images:
the couple literally walked on incandescent lava and filmed with such proximity to the volcanic explosions that it seemed impossible.
And if the images were already overwhelming enough, the love story behind the adventure was no less impressive. Dosa acknowledges that a phrase from Maurice was the key to knowing how he would tell the documentary:
«Katia and I and the volcanoes are a love story».
A triangle that makes
a "unique" relationship It pushed them "to a greater understanding of both nature and humanity," Dosa believes.
“When they were young they felt a deep disappointment with the human race: they saw the human realm as a place of destruction. Katia was born during the Second World War and Maurice, right after, and as they grow up, they live through the Vietnam War, and they feel absolutely destroyed with the things that are happening, "explains the director.
The volcanoes, he adds,
“They are for them a more authentic reflection of creation. It is about a romance, about a force that drags them«, at the same time that »they are living their destructive part and they themselves place themselves in an intermediate position: they believe that they can mediate between men and volcanoes, help them escape in time of the eruptions".
It is true that, over the years, they took more risks - to the point of dying on one of their expeditions - but "they were convinced that approaching danger could educate people about the
unpredictable gray volcanoes«, considers the filmmaker.
«We never wanted to include value judgments but to put the facts as we found them. The
scientific investigation It has a danger but, for them - Dosa points out -, it was the meaning of their life, the closer they were to the volcanoes, the fuller life was«.
«Fire of Love» shows the intrepid scientists in the field and also in their informative tasks afterwards. The story begins with their courtship in 1966 in Alsace and ends in 1991 in Japan, with the only possible death for them: involved in the eruption of a gray volcano.
“We use images from TV shows where we see them talking to each other, something that never happened in their tapes; In addition, those tapes had no sound and had to be rebuilt«, a tremendous job, acknowledges Dosa.
They traveled non-stop, from one side of the planet to the other, looking for the right moment of the
volcano eruption, first the "reds," the "nice ones," they said, and then the greys, the "killers."
“When they die, they were aware of the risk. In that eruption in Japan
40 people died among them a friend of his vulcanólgo, but we see that end in line with everything that gave meaning to his life«.
The film, distributed by
Caramel Films, It has been for Dose «a great challenge, but a marvel. Now -he summarizes- we only hope that it will be a springboard towards a broader conversation between science, cinema and, above all, the legacy of Katia and Maurice ».