The Truffle Hunters
by George Wolf
On the surface, a documentary about old men searching for subterranean fungi might not sound overly compelling. But as great docs often do, The Truffle Hunters introduces a world you may not be aware of, and the souls struggling to keep that world from slipping away.
To date, the highly-prized white Alba truffle has been resistant to cultivation. Documentarians Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw take us deep in the wilds of Piedmont, Italy, to meet a group of seventy to eighty-year-olds who rely on traditional methods and trusted dogs to find the elusive white Alba.
Dweck and Kershaw (The Last Race) employ a vérité style that’s instantly immersive and completely charming. These old time foragers cherish their proven methods and their canine partners in equal measure, taking care to protect both from the ravages of climate change and cutthroat profiteering as long as possible.
Often reminiscent of 2019’s Oscar-nominated Honeyland, the film transports you to a community that seems a nuisance to the modern world – even as gourmet palettes continue to cherish its fruits.
The 84 minutes in The Truffle Hunters is time well spent with old timers who are holding back the charge of progress in ways that are funny, defiant, sometimes curious but always joyful. Their days may be numbered, but their spirit endures, a spirit this film captures with beautifully subtle intimacy.