directed by Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw
by Angelo Muredda "I can't send you the aroma by phone," a truffle dealer tells a prospective high-end client between eroticized sniffs of his own product early in Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw's sad and mordantly funny The Truffle Hunters. The impossible challenge of translating the singular olfactory pleasures of sampling a top-shelf white truffle into words over the phone is something of an apt analogy for Dweck and Kershaw's project. The filmmakers convert the idiosyncratic private lives and nonstandard labour of several elderly, taciturn northern Italian mushroom foragers and their dogs (who are also their business partners) into crowd-pleasing documentary fodder for foodies as well as people who go to nonfiction for a chance to gawk at eccentrics. It's deceptively simple work, equally warm when profiling the dynamics of the cross-species tag teams, bemused when surveying the frosty culinary scene (and clandestine back alleys) where truffles are bought and sold, and striking when it's framing the hunters as small figures navigating a big green world in beautiful, naturalist tableaux.