This stunning documentary portrait of French volcanologists Maurice and Katia Krafft is skilfully constructed from their amazing archival footage collected from numerous volcanic expeditions in the 1970s and 80s.
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“There are only so many times you can shout ‘woah!’ at yourself during one film, but this documentary about two French daredevil volcano chasers pushes that number up. Maurice and Katia Krafft spent the 70s and 80s married both to each other and to the pursuit of being right there in the heat of the action whenever a volcano turned lethal. Maurice was a geologist, Katia was a chemist, but they were both volcanologists, dedicated to understanding these explosive natural phenomena, which they decided could only really be classified two ways: they were either ‘red’ (obvious lava flows, less dangerous) or ‘grey’ (more like bombs, less fiery, but more murderous)…
A dreamy voiceover from Miranda July guides us through the Kraffts’ story, as directed by Sara Dosa, who creates a powerful tribute to obsession and to how tiny and powerless we are in the face of geological time and power. The star is the footage: the Kraffts were filmmakers as well as scientists. They popularised (and funded) their missions through the otherworldly imagery they brought down from the mountains. That means that we’re privy to staggering scenes of the pair in silhouette next to explosive lava – scenes which we could easily think were computer generated if we didn’t know better.” — Dave Calhoun, Time Out