“The truffle hunters“Takes viewers deep into the forests of northern Italy to watch older men and their indispensable dogs partake in the tradition of sniffing the elusive white Alba truffle. The rarity of the truffle, loved by gourmet chefs, drives prices up even if the movie themes keep the old hunting methods, devoid of technology, relying on their own memories and a capricious sense of secrecy. Like many who spend hours alone in the forest, their character tends to be eccentric, but moving away from the fears of 2020 and spending time in their indescribable society is a tonic for the soul, a quiet visit to a vanished way of life to nature . Directors Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw Paint an affectionate portrait of the entire truffle hunting ecosystem, focusing on the hunters but also showing the dealers, auctioneers and chefs vying for the best truffles.
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Dweck and Kershaw never step into the action to edit or add information, but instead use a low-key approach to let their edgy subjects and beautiful natural surroundings speak for themselves. This makes for a wonderfully impressive experience, as almost all scenes are based on just one camera and the action can run at its own pace over the fixed frame. One notable exception, however, occurs in scenes where the camera is attached to a dog’s head and captures a whirling dervish perspective as the dog frolics across the forest floor and the vital muzzle works in overdrive at the bottom of the frame.
“The Truffle Hunters” is a particularly nice film for dog lovers, as the hunters value the dogs as both breadwinners and life partners and share meals and even baths with their canine companions. A hunter thinks he doesn’t need a wife because of his beloved dog, Birba, but in another scene he contemplates finding a wife (a “wild woman” who can come to terms with him) just so that he can have someone who can takes care of Birba when he’s over. We only meet a married hunter whose wife repeatedly tells him that he is too old (at 87) to go hunting at night. He nods, but later slips out of the window and goes with his dog Titina.
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One of the most memorable hunters to meet is actually an ex-hunter who, annoyed by the sneaky tricks of the competition, has given up the pastime and yet feels strong enough to see him at a typewriter he is on a manifesto written What went wrong with the truffle hunt? The short answer is, high prices have turned the hunt into a cutthroat business. The wildest tactic is to poison the dogs of other hunters, the very prospect of which drives the hunters to despair.
Despite that trail of darkness, “The Truffle Hunters” is a charming, life-affirming film, a glimpse of an enduring folkway that brings fun and taste to Italians every year. Dweck and Kershaw need not say a word to explain the appeal of the hunt. It’s easy to see that old men’s faces grow young with excitement as they chase after their dogs for another hunt. [A]
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