The simple lives of the truffle hunting community of Piedmont, Italy is explored in the majestic documentary The Truffle Hunters. For years these few men and their dogs have ventured through forests searching for prized truffles, refusing to let their old age slow them down. The politics and greed of the truffle hunting industry is brilliantly juxtaposed alongside the ascetic lives these old men live.
The characterization of the men in focus is exceptional and viewers are seamlessly drawn into the lives of the subjects. Each man in question is unique, possessing his own individuality which is perfectly matched with the others, creating a refreshing sense of community. The personalities of these men drive the film forwards. There is no distinct plot or narrative, but the lack of a strong story certainly does not affect this magnificent film. The simple way in which this film is created complements the stories it is telling. You rarely see scripted interviews occurring, most of the footage is raw, adding a layer of authenticity to the already naturalistic story.
Visually, The Truffle Hunters is one of the most stunning films to be seen this year. The still shots of Piedmont are captivating, drawing in audiences as soon as the film starts. The cinematography is a delight. Whether it is capturing the breath taking world in which these men live, or the food that they create. The excellent camera work assists in illustrating the cultural significance of not only the country but the people. Each shot paints its own unique picture that will etch itself in memories for months after viewing.
The target audience does appear narrow. Not everyone wants to see a story about a handful of elderly men hunting truffles. But the delightful relationships on display are enough to warm the hearts of anyone watching. The men all share one thing in common, their love for their canine friends. The hunters’ love for their dogs is apparent, making for some adorable and even touching moments. The emotional impact this film leaves is evident. The greed of some of the figures in the truffle hunting community is frustrating, for both viewers and the truffle hunters that we grow connected to during the film. As simple as it may be, The Truffle Hunters is as emotionally driven as it is visually captivating. Viewers will feel an intense connection to the people who are focused on.
Even if the story may not appeal to every individual, The Truffle Hunters is a film that demands attention. The simplistic nature of the story it is telling, along with the captivating way it is shot makes for a delightful cinematic experience.
Written by Felix Baldassi-Winderlich