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The Comedy of Errors

Film Review: The Truffle Hunters

18 August 21 words: Roshan Chandy

This offbeat documentary is as flavoursome as the truffles being hunted in it...

Directors: Michael Dweck & Gregory Kershaw
Running time: 84 minutes

Who would've thought a movie about truffle hunting would be so much fun? I didn't even know what a truffle was until Wikipedia told me it was a strong smelling underground fungus considered a delicacy in France and Italy and hunted by pigs and dogs by doddering old men. This quasi-documentary does exactly what it says on the tin – it's about men going into the woods in search of truffles.

It should be so, so boring, but it isn't. I loved the Italian dialogue with its melodic "Mamma mia!" inflected tones and the scenery of northern Italy which is so rich in culture and fertile heartland. Exactly the type of place I'd like to visit and build an allotment on. It's heaven on Earth personified.

The cinematography in this movie is fantastic; combining wide shots of the picturesque Italian landscape with close-ups of the aromatic truffles looking so hardened, but also soft and squidgy. There's also an ingenious technique of POV when they place a camera on the dog's head and ask it to film the surroundings. You genuinely feel like you're seeing the world through a dog's eyes and it's fascinating, nauseating and so sickly sweet.

It doesn't feature interviews, archive footage or narration. It's just a day in the life of the truffle hunters and all the better for it

I loved the passion that these men have for their craft; spending hours, days even finding the whitest and most expensive truffles and adding them to home-grown Italian wines. I imagine they taste fabulous too and this movie had me begging my family to buy some – if they are available in the UK, that is. The truffle hunters are a fabulous bunch that will make Italy proud.

What I found most brilliant about this movie, though, was that it barely feels like a documentary. All the hunters are real people passionate about their craft and digging up truffles as they go, but they speak with the professionalism and knowledge of a trained actor. It's the best piece of non-acting acting I've perhaps ever seen put to film. It's also not a conventional documentary in that it doesn't feature interviews, archive footage or narration. It's just a day in the life of the truffle hunters and all the better for it.

I love Italy, I love truffles and I love truffle hunters. This movie will make you love them too. And I knew nothing about the subject before I started watching, but came out a truffle connoisseur. You will too because the film is as delicious and sweet and succulent as the truffles in it.

The Truffle Hunters is in cinemas now

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