Ben Oliver

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Into the Inferno

It is a fire that wants to burst forth and it could not care less about what we are doing up here.
19 February 2023

Spurred on by Fire of Love1, I thought it might be interesting to watch one or two other volcano documentaries. What better place to start than with Werner Herzog, master of going places he probably shouldn’t.

Rather than being a science lesson, the volcanoes of Into the Inferno are a thread that tie together a series of smaller anthropological stories. It’s fascinating; Herzog even travels to North Korea to explore the way the government has mythologised and co-opted Mount Paektu into its national story.

More interesting still are the much less documented communities and cargo cults on Vanuatu, living in the shadow of an active volcano.

Into the Inferno doesn’t quite hang together as a single piece of work, bouncing from segment to segment somewhat, but it’s an awe-inspiring film blessed with Herzogs unique style and insight.

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