ACMI + Docplay present
The Fire Within: A Requiem for Katia and Maurice Krafft
Big Screen Premiere
Join us in cinema as Werner Herzog pays his respects to the Kraffts – trailblazing volcanologists and awe-inspiring cinematographers.
On June 3rd 1991 at exactly 3.18 pm, a pyroclastic flow – a cloud of superheated gases and particles – hurtled down at over 100 miles per hour from the peak of a volcano in Mount Unzen, Japan, consuming everything in its path. Two french volcanologists who had dedicated their lives to observing and filming volcanoes around the world, Katia and Maurice Krafft, were instantly killed. Their work lives on in their amazing film archive containing over 200 hours of footage providing viewers with unprecedented access to the raw beauty of volcanoes and insight into the dangerous path the couple tread.
In 2016, Werner Herzog teamed up with British volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer in their film Into the Inferno which delved into the connection between volcanoes and spirituality around the world. Back then, they mined the Kraffts' film archive to great, visually explosive effect.
In returning to the archive and delving even deeper, The Fire Within: A Requiem for Katia and Maurice Krafft replaces the ethnographic for the profoundly professional. Comprised almost entirely of the Kraffts' footage accompanied by Herzog's signature narration, the resulting work is a director's eulogy for those we've lost, coloured by his respect for their thoroughly beautiful and outrageously dangerous work as filmmakers.
As volcanologists, the Kraffts research moved science forward. As cinematographers, they captured light on film like no other by getting so close we almost step into it. Instead of being a biography, Herzog's film is instead a requiem, a farewell and a celebration of their work.
– Reece Goodwin; Curator, TV & Special Events
The Fire Within: A Requiem for Katia and Maurice Krafft is available to stream on Docplay from Friday 28 October.
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