Film reviews: Fire of Love, Joyride, Paris, Texas

Fire of Love

Katia and Maurice Krafft on one of their beloved volcanoes in Fire of Love - Credit: Image 'Est

Fire of Love (PG)

*****

This chilling tale of a deadly obsession is completely charming and entirely magical.

Pity about the terrible title, though Volcanologists In Love, or Lava Will Tear Us Apart wouldn’t have been any better.

Born twenty miles apart in Alsace, Maurice and Katia Krafft bonded over a passion for volcanoes. They knew one day it would kill them, but driven by a fierce life wish, a desire to live with unremitting intensity, they flew around the world to chronicle, study and film the latest eruptions for two decades.

Until they were caught out by the Mount Unzen eruption in Japan and were killed instantly.

Katia Krafft wearing aluminized suit standing near lava burst at Krafla Volcano, Iceland. (Credit: I

Katia Krafft wearing aluminized suit standing near lava burst at Krafla Volcano, Iceland. (Credit: Image'Est) - Credit: Image'Est

Apart from a narration by filmmaker Miranda July and a few short pieces of animation, Dosa’s film is made entirely from the remarkable footage the pair left as their legacy. This footage is so extraordinary it would be almost impossible to mess up, but I doubt many people could’ve done better. Dosa has done an honourable, loving job, letting the French couple tell their own stories as much as possible. Right from the start it beguiles and wraps you in the wonderment of their lives.

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The Kraffts were perhaps the Jacques Cousteau of volcanoes, trying to engage the wider public on a mission to learn and explain. A bearlike man with big hair and a pipe, a petite woman wearing severe glasses, they were like something from a Wes Anderson film, The Life Volcanic with Katia and Maurice Krafft.

Plaudits to Dosa for her lovely work but it is the Krafftwork that makes the film. It's a testament to how appealing Maurice and Katia are that you never resent them getting between you and the volcanoes, who in any other film we would be called "The real stars," and in this one get individual billing in the opening credits.

They are truly spectacular; humbling, terrifying and fearsome yet you absolutely see why people fall so deeply in love with them. Why the hell do I spend so much time watching CGI spectacles when this stuff is around? Though I had to make do with a video link for the TV, this has to be seen on the big screen. Gallingly, I had to sacrifice my only opportunity to see this in the cinema for the infantile, fatuous attention-seeking of Jurassic World.

Directed by Sara Dosa. Featuring Katia and Maurice Krafft. Narration by Miranda July. Running time: 93 mins.

Olivia Colman in Joyride

Olivia Colman and Charlie Reid in Joyride - Credit: Vertigo Releasing

Joyride (15)

***

Joy would be a stretch, but there is some pleasure to be had from this Irish comedy-drama. It’s a road movie which throws together a drunken solicitor, Joy (Colman), a single mother with a newborn baby that she is planning to give away to her best friend, and a gobby, streetwise 13-year-old lad (Reid) who steals her taxi and happens to be a dab hand at babycare.

The central pair rattle along well together. Colman’s accent doesn’t quite stretch to the entirety of her lines, but I’d say there's an impressive 85 percent coverage. The humour feels like a bit of an afterthought, an obligation to allow a film about the darker realities of childbirth.

From the start, we know that Joy's chances of making it onto her flight to Lanzarote having handed over her baby to a loving home are slim to zero. To me the film seemed unsentimental and rational. Were I a woman though, I'm not sure how I'd take having a 13-year-old lecture a national treasure about her reproductive choices.

Directed by Emer Reynolds. Starring Olivia Colman, Charlie Reid, Lochlann O'Mearáin, Olwen Fouéré and Tommy Tiernam. Running Time 92 mins.

Paris, Texas. Wim Wenders 1983/84

Paris, Texas. by Wim Wenders 1983/84 - Credit: Wim Wenders Stiftung

Paris, Texas (12)

****

Ah, Paris Texas. Ry Cooder’s slide guitar. Harry Dean Stanton marching purposefully across the desert between the buttes in his raggedy suit and baseball cap. Nastassja Kinski looking back over the shoulder of her pink angora sweater. Aurore Clement saying, “Unteau.” The Ry Cooder music again.

Few films have been quite so effective in burning a series of timeless images and sounds into the memory of viewers; or getting them to forget that what comes in between is maybe not so great.

Curzon wraps up its Wim Wenders season with arguably his best loved, best known film. It's ironic that his great American movie moves at a European speed, taking its own sweet time navigating the course of a simple story about a man walking out of a Texas desert with no words and no memory.

I like the pace, but I might have preferred a different story. While cinematographer Robbie Muller’s beautiful but honest images of American land and cityscapes pull you in, Sam Shepherd’s script might hold you back. At crucial moments it becomes too symbolic, too wordy and is at odds with the placid melancholy of the visuals.

Directed by Wim Wenders (1883) Starring Harry Dean Stanton, Hunter Carson, Nastassja Kinski, Aurore Clement and Dean Stockwell. In cinemas or Curzon Home video, concluding Curzon’s Wim Wender’s season. Running time: 139 mins.

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