‘The Truffle Hunters’: International documentary unearths the lives of Italian men and their fungus-hunting dogs

Every now and then, a documentary comes along that, through a narrative specificity and an evolution of its subjects into characters, makes you to forget whether you’re watching a documentary at all. Such is the way “The Truffle Hunters” plays as it slowly lifts the veil on the highly revered and closely protected process of hunting for the world’s most expensive food. Watch the trailer above.

Co-directed by Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw, the film follows a group of Italian men, mostly in their 70s and 80s, as they navigate the changing landscape of truffle hunting. One man angrily types a letter to his peers explaining that the greed of others has led him to refuse to hunt any longer; another battles his wife who wants him, at the very least, to stop hunting at night; and a third refuses to reveal to a younger man the location of the woods he hunts in, as this is a secret so closely kept by truffle hunters that he says he wouldn’t even tell his own child if he had one. Throughout the film, the men reveal the frustrations with the changing game of hunting truffles as climate change reduces the amount there is to find, and that scarcity breeds a more competitive and less rule-driven market for buying and selling them.

SEE Make your Oscar predictions now

In many ways, the film is a revelation of the secret yet locally cherished lives these men live. In that regard, it is reminiscent of last year’s Oscar-nominated documentary “Honeyland” and past nominee “Finding Vivian Maier” (2013). Tender stories of lives untold such as these typically find their strongest support among critics and documentary-focused groups. Both were nominated for prizes by Cinema Eye Honors and the International Documentary Association — a path that “The Truffle Hunters” could very well repeat.

As directors, Dweck and Kershaw will be new names to most of the audience. “The Truffle Hunters” is Dweck’s second film, following “Last Race” in 2018. Kershaw worked on that film with Dweck as well, but as writer and cinematographer, making this his directorial debut. But for anyone unfamiliar with their work, they may be drawn in by the name of one of the film’s executive producers, Luca Guadagnino.

“The Truffle Hunters” is set to be released in theaters via Sony Pictures Classics on Christmas Day. It currently holds a score of 81 on Metacritic and a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Make your predictions at Gold Derby now. Download our free and easy app for Apple/iPhone devices or Android (Google Play) to compete against legions of other fans plus our experts and editors for best prediction accuracy scores. See our latest prediction champs. Can you top our esteemed leaderboards next? Always remember to keep your predictions updated because they impact our latest racetrack odds, which terrify Hollywood chiefs and stars. Don’t miss the fun. Speak up and share your huffy opinions in our famous forums where 5,000 showbiz leaders lurk every day to track latest awards buzz. Everybody wants to know: What do you think? Who do you predict and why

SIGN UP for Gold Derby’s free newsletter with latest predictions

More News from GoldDerby