Into The Inferno

DOCS D: Werner Herzog. UK/Austria. 104 min. Sep.

DOCS D: Werner Herzog. UK/Austria. 104 min. Sep 14, 6:15 pm, Hot Docs Cinema Sep 18, 12:15 pm, Hot Docs Cinema. Rating: NNN

Into The Inferno is Herzog’s volcano documentary, inspired by meeting volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer in Antarctica while shooting Encounters At The End Of The World a decade ago.

The two men tour the world’s active and inactive volcanoes, with special attention paid to the three sites where it’s possible to look directly into the mouth and see the magma that flows beneath the Earth’s crust.

That footage – shot in high-definition – is magnificent and terrifying, as is the material shot by Maurice and Katia Krafft, who dedicated their lives to filming lava flows (and died in an eruption on Japan’s Mount Unzen in 1991).

But there’s only about 20 to 30 minutes of it. The rest of the film is padded out with philosophical investigations into the belief systems that have evolved around volcanoes, including a very long visit to North Korea, where Mount Paektu is held sacred as the birthplace of Kim Jong-il. After 10 minutes you’ll be itching for them to get back to the lava porn.

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