By David Rooney
Directors Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw follow a shrinking handful of men and their dogs into the Piedmont forests of Northern Italy in search of the white Alba truffle, craved at the world’s best tables. The result is a vérité documentary that finds humor, charm and poignancy in the crusty eccentrics and their adored canine companions who sniff out the aromatic tubers, usually under the secretive cloak of night. Like last year’s Oscar-nominated Honeyland, The Truffle Hunters also suggests a melancholy sense of a disappearing way of life dating to old-world Europe. While Dweck and Kershaw eschew conventional interviews for discreet observation, they pick up conversations — often in Piedmontese dialect — in which the men reveal the spiritual rewards of being out alone in the moonlit woods, communing with nature, hearing the hoots of owls, talking with their dogs and excavating their rare treasure.