Sunday, February 19, 2023

'Fire of Love' and 'All That Breathes' — two Oscar-nominated documentaries I'm recommending to my students

I have been recommending two documentaries to my students since the Academy Awards nominations came out, "Fire of Love" and "All That Breathes," the first to my geology classes and the second to my environmental science classes.* That's a good enough reason to share my thoughts about them for today's Sunday entertainment feature. I begin with National Geographic's Fire of Love Trailer.

From National Geographic Documentary Films comes the extraordinary love story of intrepid French scientists Katia and Maurice Krafft, who died just as explosively as they lived — capturing the most spectacular imagery ever recorded of their greatest passion: volcanoes.
I'm a paleontologist, not a volcanologist, but I'm still a geologist, so I'm thrilled to see an award-winning documentary about geology being recognized at the Academy Awards and happy to recommend my students watch a tragic love story about scientists and their subject. It helps that the documentary is streaming on Disney+, so they don't even have to leave home or spend extra money on to see it.

Next, All That Breathes | Official Trailer | HBO.

“We’re all a community of air.”

Oscar-nominated film #AllThatBreathes, an exploration of humankind’s connection to wildlife and climate change, premieres February 7 on @HBOMax.
I'm also sharing the description from Dogwoof's upload of this trailer.
As legions of birds fall from New Delhi’s darkening skies, and the city smoulders with social unrest, two brothers race to save a casualty of the turbulent times: the black kite, a majestic bird of prey essential to their city's ecosystem.
As the first video description notes, my students can stream this film at home on HBO Max, although I think fewer of them have the Warner Brothers-Discovery streaming service than Disney's. It still looks like a documentary they will find both enjoyable and educational.

Before I move on, the trailer's claim that this is "the most awarded documentary of the year" may or may not have been true at the time of the trailer's release, but it certainly isn't true now. IMDB lists 19 wins and 39 nominations for "All That Breathes" but 27 wins and 65 nominations for "Fire of Love." One of those is the DGA Awards, where "Fire of Love" won Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary, beating "All That Breathes," two other Oscar nominees, "Navalny" and "All the Beauty and the Bloodshed," and "Retrograde," which substitutes for the Oscar-nominated "A House Made of Splinters." According to IMDB, "All the Beauty and the Bloodshed" ties "Fire of Love" with 27 wins but lags behind with 47 nominations, while "Navalny" has 11 wins and 28 nominations and "A House Made of Splinters" has 8 wins and 14 nominations. All that places "All That Breathes" in third, not first.

Follow over the jump for Gold Derby's interviews of the directors for both "Fire of Love" and "All That Breathes."

Gold Derby interviewed Sara Dosa twice about "Fire of Love," beginning with Sara Dosa ('Fire of Love' director): Love story of Katia and Maurice Krafft through volcano footage.

Sara Dosa ('Fire of Love' director) on telling love story of Katia and Maurice Krafft through their own volcano footage. The National Geographic documentary recounts the story of scientists and lovers Katia and Maurice Krafft, who died in a volcanic explosion. This segment is part of the Gold Derby 'Meet the Experts' documentary panel hosted by senior editor Denton Davidson.
The awe-inspiring power of volcanoes is one of the themes I weave into my lecture on volcanoes, which I described in Space, Ebola, volcanoes, stroke, and human expansion the topics of Science and Technology Documentary nominees. Then, the relevant movie was "Into the Inferno." "Fire of Love" explores that same topic from a more personal and scientific perspective.

Gold Derby interviewed Dosa again in 'Fire of Love' director Sara Dosa on sexism that Katia Krafft faced despite her volcanic expertise.

'Fire of Love' director Sara Dosa discusses the sexism that Katia Krafft faced despite her volcanic expertise. The documentary explores the work of the famous volcanologist couple through tons of archival footage that they took. Gold Derby contributing editor Charles Bright hosts this webchat as part of the Meet the Experts documentary feature panel for 2023 Oscar contenders.
I expect my students will appreciate the human part of this story at least as much as they do the science, including the social as well as physical obstacles scientists such as Katia Krafft had to overcome.

Now for Gold Derby's interview of 'All That Breathes' director-producer Shaunak Sen: 'Abstract triangulation of air, humans, birds'.

How 'All That Breathes' director-producer Shaunak Sen made a doc on the 'abstract triangulation of air, humans, birds.' The documentarian's Oscar-nominated film was born after a simple Google search. Gold Derby senior editor Joyce Eng hosts this special interview as part of the 2023 PGA nominees panel.
I've written about China's greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, but maybe it's time I write about India's air pollution.

The other three Documentary Feature nominees at the Academy Awards are political and social issue documentaries and I plan on getting to them in a future installment. That's when I'll finish my handicapping of the nominees and maybe even make a prediction. Stay tuned.

*Oscar nominee "All the Beauty and the Bloodshed" is about the Sackler family, who are at the center of the opioid crisis, and might just be worth mentioning to my Human Structure and Function class. That way, all my students this semester will have recommended films to watch for extra credit.

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