Monday, May 3, 2021

Movie Review: There's Truffles in Them Thar Hills!

Posted By on Mon, May 3, 2021 at 11:30 AM


Now playing at The Loft Cinema as part of their Open Air Cinema series

Don’t know much about truffles. Pretty sure I’ve never eaten one. Not knowingly, anyway.

Apparently, some folks love those truffles. The elderly men of Piedmont, Italy, the subjects of Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw’s documentary, The Truffle Hunters, know this. They search for something called the white Alba truffle day and night, an elusive truffle at that, with their trusty truffle hunting dogs at their sides.

The film’s approach involves not a one person looking straight at the camera to tell their story. No talking head interviews. The camera just observes these kooky guys digging in the dirt for their delicacies or witnessing a truffle dealer in a back alley trying to peddle his wares like they were heroin.

It’s an amusing watch, thanks to the eccentric men and, most colorfully, their enthusiastic dogs. The directors even strap a Go Pro on a couple of them and let them go crazy; we witness the joy of the canine’s hunt POV.

Some of the moments seem a little staged, but it’s okay. The film has a nice narrative to it. That’s especially true of a subplot involving an 87-year old truffle hunter who is prone to injuries and getting in trouble with the wife for truffle hunting at night.

There’s also humor to be found in the sheer admiration of the truffle as if it were a piece of art or the latest fashion to hit the catwalk. One particular showing has a giant truffle sitting on a red pillow, flanked by bottles of wine, while an audience admires it, cameras clicking away, onlookers applauding. These folks take their truffles seriously.

The Truffle Hunters is what you want in a good documentary. The subjects are entertaining without even trying, so they keep the movie going forward by simply pointing a camera at them. The movie provides some education on the world of truffles. And the dogs hilariously howl when their masters sing or drive badly, so you’ll get some good laughs, too.