Fire In Paradise ( Zackary Canepari, Drea Cooper, 2019): USA

Reviewed by Gabriel Gottardi. Viewed at AFI festival 2019.

California is well known for its wildfires. Every year numerous fires across the states happen, sometimes caused by human interference and others by natural causes. Over the last ten years, the number of wildfires has increased exponentially representing a danger for the population. The documentary Fire in paradise by Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper shows the massive spread of the Camp Fire, who killed 85 people.

At first, the name already gives what the documentary is about, a fire in one of the beautiful places in California. The film starts with recordings of people in that community living happy and surrounded by a majestic landscape. However, everything changed with the arrived of one of the deadliest wildfires that destroyed the whole city. In a matter of minutes, the sky becomes dark and people started to panic because they had a chance of didn’t survive at this hell.

The first impression that I had of the documentary was the connection provided between me and the storytellers – common people of the community that experienced this awful experience, like Beth Bonersox, who works in the fire department. She one of the first person that saw the fire when It happened in the mountains, she thought it was normal. However, after a couple of hours, she started to receive numerous calls about a fire the same fire was burning houses and killing people.

The light has different states during the film. At first, it was kind of a high key with bright colors to highlight the beauty of Paradise. However, after the fire starts it’s clear the shift to low key lighting. The contrast created helped the viewers fell what the characters felt on that day. The strong colors related to warm gases us the sensation of being inside the cars that drove through the road on fire.

Fire in Paradise is a very shocking documentary. It’s also a critic film about climate change, showing that the solution is right in front of us, we just need to catch it. Over the years, the number of deadliest wildfire has increased exponentially. When I got here in 2017, I experience the Thomas Fire, which I heard was the biggest one so far. However, I a matter of one year we already have a bigger one that killed numerous innocent lives. I recommend this for all the people who live in California but never have the chance to see a fire like this. It’s the best way to raise awareness.

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