'The Truffle Hunters' has sleepy charm
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'The Truffle Hunters' has sleepy charm

The film brings infectious joy with each beautiful landscape and tail-wagging dog on screen.

​An elderly man sits at a dining room table with his medium-sized scruffy dog in documentary "The Truffle Hunters." The man is in his modest Italian home. He's wearing a brown sweater and he holds up his left hand while talking to his dog. His dog sits on the dining room table. The dog has scruffy, long, sandy-colored fur.
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Classics

There's something therapeutic about watching an elderly man sing atop rolling Italian hills with a loving dog at his side.

"The Truffle Hunters" takes its time in telling the slice-of-life story about a handful of men between 70 to 80 years old and their hunt for a rare, expensive white Alba truffle in Piedmont, Italy.

THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS | Official Trailer (2020) www.youtube.com

The truffle itself is extremely rare because it defies modern scientific efforts to cultivate. The key to finding these rare truffles is a secret between tight-lipped trainers and their trained dogs. So anyone who is at all intrigued by the passion, greed and culture surrounding these truffles will likely find this documentary fascinating.

Directed by duo Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw, "Truffle Hunters" is a sleepy look into the life of these men, each of whom bring joy to the screen for their charming personalities.

Each man is as eccentric as the next. Aurelio lives alone with his scruffy companion Birba, who jumps on the dining room table to lick bowls clean. Carlo is another man who loves hunting for truffles and doesn't listen to his wife when she insists he's getting too old to go out in the woods by himself in the middle of the night – to avoid being followed by greedy poachers.

There isn't any narration, so viewers are simply peering into their lives with translated subtitles for the Italian audio. Combined with the breath-taking landscape shots, the film stirs personal curiosity for truffles and the hunters behind the operation.

The documentary also explores the journey these truffles go through in auctions and restaurants, showing the demand that makes the characters' tricks of the trade more coveted as time passes.

But as valuable as the truffles are, there's a higher price worth its weight in gold from watching hunters' definition of a life worth living.

Score: 8/10

"The Truffle Hunters" opens in select theaters starting Friday, April 9. It will expand to all theaters by April 30.

Follow the reporter on Twitter at @s_incorvaia.

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