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Documentary Releases: The Truffle Hunters (2020) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 861 days ago on Entertainment -  The second documentary feature film by visual artist and filmmaker Michael Dweck, The Truffle Hunters, is at once a pure experiential slice-of-life promenade through the woods of Northern Piedmont, Italy following three aged Italian men on the hunt for the elusive Alba truffle as well as a relaxing and serene travelogue through the terrain housing one of the world’s most sought after elite delicacies.  Mostly the film provides an unfettered gaze upon the world of truffle hunting, purchasing, display, sales and finally consumption of the prized culinary Earthly confection.  Also the film, like the projectionist documentary The Dying of the Light, helps to shed some details on the isolated personalities of the aptly named Truffle Hunters. Understated, subdued and largely quiet with a stillness that’s occasional offset by rapid sequences involving a camera strapped to the back of a hunting dog that’s part of a pack of truffle detectors, The Truffle Hunters is the very definition of a relaxing cinematic promenade.  While the lives of the three truffle hunters shown onscreen range from amusing to somber, the Luca Guadagnino produced documentary makes you want to rally behind these lost but largely happy souls who hold the keys to the Earth’s most prized possessions.  At times the documentary, co-directed by Gregory Kershaw, feels formless as it casually trots between the three characters at random while cutting back and forth between the Piedmont forests and a sumptuous truffle dish on display surrounded by wine bottles, photographers and bidders eager to buy up the culinary delights at hand.  The mood and overall tone of the film mostly conveys what it feels like to actually BE one of the truffle hunters at hand, including a heartbreaking aside involving one of the hunters losing his dog after eating a poison trap set by criminals trying to thwart the truffle hunters.   Still, the best description of The Truffle Hunters besides portraying the disparity between the struggling truffle hunters and the wealthy elites is that it is a hangout film.  You spend some time with these characters digging in the tree roots for truffles, get to live with them for a little while, see what keeps them returning for more and then pack your bags and head home from your brief cinematic vacation.  Some viewers, even dedicated documentary consumers, might come away feeling a bit cold from the trip particularly with how many static running long takes the film contains.  Still others, like myself, will come away tickled pink by the delightful deliciousness on display and will want to head out to the nearest fancy restaurant for one of your own truffle treats, if you can afford it.--Andrew Kotwicki (function() { var zergnet = document.createElement('script'); zergnet.type = 'text/javascript'; zergnet.async = true; zergnet.src = (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https:" : "http:") + '//'; var znscr = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; znscr.parentNode.insertBefore(zergnet, znscr); })();

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