Why The Truffle Hunters Could Be Your Best Christmas Present
11/20/2020 • 3 min read
If you're lucky, at Christmas there might be one present you didn’t put on your list, didn’t ask for, and didn’t even think of — but which overwhelms you by being thoughtful and just plain awesome. Christmas movies can be the same way; the unexpectedly great ones are truly delightful surprises.
If any one movie has the potential to surprise everyone this year, it is THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS, a documentary about the handful of people in Northern Italy who know how to find one of the most prized foods in the world: The white Alba truffle. Here’s why we think the Christmas Day release could be a sleeper smash.
It Looks Amazing
Isn’t that trailer great? It promises exotic locations, colorful characters, and, most importantly, adorable dogs. While there isn’t much in the way of story in the trailer, the official synopsis reveals more about what to expect from the film.
"THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS follows a handful of men, seventy to eighty years young, in Piedmont, Italy, on the search for the elusive Alba truffle. They’re guided by a secret culture passed down through generations, as well as by the noses of their cherished and expertly trained dogs. The documentary subtly explores the devastating effects of climate change and deforestation on an age-old tradition through a visually stunning narrative that celebrates life and exalts the human spirit.” Count us in.
It Is Deliciously Old-School
At a time when there is seemingly an app or a high-tech "solution" for any problem, hunting for the white Alba truffle remains a decidedly old-world activity. Only a few aged people know how to do it, and they accomplish their work using only their wits, experience, and that most trusted and time-honored companion: Dogs.
While we ultimately see that finding the white Alba truffle is indeed a complicated endeavor upon which modern business and technology seeks to intrude, it is refreshing to see that those efforts have been fruitless. We live in a busy and complicated time, and the activity in THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS is a refreshing look at a way of life that has vanished for many people.
Something for Everyone
Christmas movies usually fall into two camps: Blockbusters with huge fanbases (think STAR WARS or AVATAR) or heavy dramas that are looking forward to the Oscars that usually come a few months later. THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS might just please both camps at once — people who want big entertainment and a serious look at the world.
There's also the fact that it concentrates on food and adorable dogs, two subjects that almost everyone can agree upon. And it has unforgettable characters who are a little bit odd. Movies can let us see the lives of all sorts of different people, and you've probably never met anyone like the folks at the center of THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS.
Even in a year when international film festivals have either been shuttered altogether or taken on a completely different form, THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS has been a standout. It was shown at the Sundance Film Festival before the world went sideways and went on to screen as part of the Cannes Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and New York Film Festival, winning praise all along the way. For a tiny film based in a small, esoteric part of Italy, it has earned international acclaim.
Furthermore, the people at Sony Pictures Classics, which is releasing THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS, have excellent taste in documentaries. The label's films have been as varied and unforgettable as CRUMB (about the notorious underground cartoonist Robert Crumb), FAST, CHEAP & OUT OF CONTROL and THE FOG OF WAR by Errol Morris, THE CELLULOID CLOSET (which charted the history of homosexual subtext in Hollywood movies), and more recently THE EAGLE HUNTRESS, which also looks at one culture’s relationship with amazing animals. In short: you should trust a Sony Pictures Classics documentary release, and THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS is no exception.
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All images courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.