Kīlauea – The Fire Within (2015) Short Film Review


Lava, along with quicksand and icebergs, forms a trinity of natural wonders that depressingly end up being far less of an everyday hazard than you expected as a child. Icebergs were mighty ocean tyrants, seeking out unwary ships and luring them to their doom with their deadly secret mass hiding below the waves while any patch of sand or grit exposed to even the tiniest amount of water would inevitably risk turning into an unescapable quagmire from which any attempts to struggle would only hasten your demise. But Lava…lava was the all-conquering, unstoppably hot and gooey filling of the planet, bursting through the (weirdly delicious sounding) crust of the Earth creating volcanoes and destroying everything in its path. It was also the preferred flooring material for furniture hopping mayhem when stuck indoors on a rainy day. Lance Page’s short film “Kilauea – The Fire Within” recaptures much of the awe and wonder that volcanos and lava evoke during childhood in a series of ferociously beautiful sequences documenting the ceaseless activity of the Kīlauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.

There are no humans photographed in the film, no narrative voiceover and beyond some title credits no other captions, so you’re left to experience the amazing visuals uninterrupted, sharing some of Lance’s personal experience of the shoot. On the Vimeo page for the film, he says: ‘I’ve never been anywhere else on the planet that demanded as much respect and awareness for the natural environment around me. Her unexpected beauty and unsettling sense of danger were nothing short of humbling and put so much into perspective.’

The score by Stafan Scott Nelson is suitably ambient and at its strongest when it allows some of the actual sounds to blend through but the visuals are so extraordinary that you may want to turn the volume down and play your favourite fire related tracks as you immerse yourself in the beautifully crafted time-lapse filming.

“Kilauea – The Fire Within”, which you can watch on the embed below, is an astonishing, awe-inspiring and profound reminder of the power and majesty of the planet we live on.