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DCA Archive

Senior Citizen Kane: The Truffle Hunters

Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw

The truffle is a culinary obsession, treasured for their aroma and flavours. An edible fungi that grow near tree roots can range in size from a strawberry to an apple and the most coveted can fetch astronomical prices at auction. Tracking down this rare commodity is an art and science practised in partnerships between humans and dogs. This beautiful, meditative documentary from Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw follows three veteran specialists and their canine companions as they seek the prized delicacy and contend with poachers in the woods of Northern Italy.

“these ageing men may just hold something much more valuable… the secret to a rich and meaningful life”

Deep in the forests of Piedmont, a handful of men, seventy – or eighty years young, hunt for the rare and expensive white Alba truffle – which to date has resisted all of modern science's efforts at cultivation. They're guided by a secret culture and training passed down through generations, as well as by the noses of their cherished and expertly trained dogs. They live a simpler, slower way of life, in harmony with their loyal animals and picture-perfect land, seemingly straight out of a fairy tale. They're untethered to cellphone screens or the Internet, opting instead to make their food and drink by hand and prioritizing in-person connections and community.

The demand for white truffles increases year after year, even as the supply decreases. As a result of climate change, deforestation, and the lack of young people taking up the mantle, the truffle hunters' secrets are more coveted than ever. However, as it soon becomes clear, these ageing men may just hold something much more valuable than even this prized delicacy: the secret to a rich and meaningful life.


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