(director/writer: Michael Dweck/Gregory Kershaw; cinematographer: Michael Dweck/Gregory Kershaw; editor: Charlotte Munch Bengtsen; music: Ed Côrtes; cast:  Piero Botto, Sergio Cauda, Maria Cicciù; Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Michael Dweck/Gregory Kershaw; Bow and Arrow Entertainment/Sony Picture Classics; 2020-Italy/Greece/USA-in English & Italian with English subtitles)

“A fun documentary on an unusual subject.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A fun documentary on an unusual subject, the disappearing way of life of truffle hunting, that NYC co-directors and writers Michael Dweck (“The Last Race”) and Gregory Kershaw (“The Last Race”) handle with ease. They use painterly images and a lyrical style by following in the woods at night as the truffle hunters, three old timers in their eighties and their special skilled dogs, go on their hunt in the forests of Piedmont, in northern Italy, for rare and tasty white Alba truffles that are highly valued by food connoisseurs and at restaurants all over the world. It also waxes poetic on the love the old men show for their dogs.

The truffles hunted can’t be farmed or produced in a science lab. They can only be hunted
by about half a dozen old men and their dogs who have devoted their lives to hunt them. They act secretively to protect their art from rivals: some who are unethical and shamelessly steal these treasures from the real truffle hunters. There are so few hunters who know the art and these men are selfishly not training apprentices, so when they die out there might not be any more experienced hunters left to carry on the old school European tradition.

Meanwhile because of the difficult search for these prized fungi, their prices skyrocket in the marketplace. They are valued as an exotic food item by foodies around the world. I tried it once (sprinkled over scrambled eggs) and showed no great appetite for it. But each to their own vice.

Truffle Hunters is a good watch. It serves as this year’s Honeyland.

Truffle hunters and their dogs

REVIEWED ON 2/21/2021  GRADE: B+