#TIFF20: “THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS”
By David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
In the woods of the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, there are truffles buried in the Earth. The culinary delight is beloved by many, but few know how they reach our tables. The Truffle Hunters profiles a group of individuals who deal in the Truffle trade, from buying and selling, to the men and their dogs who find them.
The Truffle Hunters is a delight from start to finish. In a year that has literally been a dystopic nightmare for so many, it is genuinely refreshing to watch a wholesome, feel good movie primarily about men who look for truffles with their dogs. I was smiling and laughing throughout the Film, especially during the ridiculous sequences of back alley truffle dealing (yes, it is a thing and yes, it looks just as wild as you imagine it does). Somehow, these moments are not even the most outrageous and unbelievable scenes in the Movie. My experience with truffles is limited, but seeing them discussed at length here was both educational and enlightening. Directors Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw could have approached the Film and its topic as being inconsequential and silly, but they give these individuals a voice to share their passion of choice. And even though I am a cat person, it was absolutely wonderful watching these older men interacting with their dogs.
Speaking of dogs, there are two scenes that are shot from their point of view – and I am literally shrieking with joy just thinking about them. The camera is mounted on the dog’s head and we feel their joy as they get to run through the forest foraging for truffles. It is an intriguing Cinematography choice from Dweck and Kershaw that could have gone horribly wrong, but ends up working marvelously. When was the last time you can remember watching a film scene where a dog’s snout bounces in and out of the frame? Or when you last saw a camera shaking-off whatever was on it? I cannot recall a dog’s POV being utilized like this before, but it really complements the Film and literally makes the act of digging for truffles feel even more authentically-realized here. Now I just hope all dog-related productions learn from this Film and add in more POV footage from their angle.
THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS screens at TIFF ’20 as follows:
Fri, Sep 18
Online at Bell Digital Cinema