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Dogcams and the dark forest: how truffle hunters capture a beautiful and dangerous world | Documentary

A kindAnyone looking for an antidote to digital overload is worse than spending 90 minutes in the company of Piedmontese villagers, because they look for the treasure of their region in the fallen leaves: white truffles.It is this simplicity that makes the new documentary Truffle Hunter Such a lip balm. This fascinating film has no voice-overs and tells the story of a few foragers and their dogs searching the forests of northern Italy in winter for elusive fungi.

“That’s why we made this movie,” said co-director Gregory Kershaw. “Escape our digital life and spend time in a place like this. You will realize how many things that are so important to human survival are missing in our daily lives. It’s like don’t think of nature as a wilderness to be explored, but instead of looking at nature as a wilderness to be explored. What does it mean to be intertwined with your daily life.”

This synergy seems to apply to truffle hunters, most of whom are in their 70s and 80s. “They are all very healthy,” the director colleague said Michael Dweck“We have not seen any medication, no one is limp, no hip fracture, no similar situation. This is too dangerous [in the forests at night]. “

While emphasizing their views on modern life, Dweck, Kershaw, and I were imprisoned in the small rectangle of Zoom to discuss the movie, whose flow of meditation somehow positioned it perfectly in the lock-in era. Dweck, 63, used to be a big advertising star, and later transformed into a visual artist, with a juggling bob hair and a husky New Yorker style; 47-year-old Kershaw has a documentary background and is more academic and dry practice.

The two accidentally discovered this place independently, they will not disclose their exact whereabouts in Piedmont, and both were there after vacationing. Kershaw was struck by the “fairy tale” atmosphere of all hilltop villages and the deep-rooted sense of community White Alba Truffle – It’s almost impossible to grow, worth thousands of euros per kilogram – worrying. Hunters often patrol at night to keep the location secret.

“It was all done in the dark,” Kershaw said. “Brokers make deals with buyers in these back alleys. Day after day, no one knows what the price should be.” The competition is so fierce that some people leave. Add a bait of strychnine to the opponent’s dog.

Dweck and Kershaw spent three years deep into this secret world, until they were low-key enough to capture its true rhythm. “It took a while for the locals to understand what we were after,” Dweck said. “We are not like reality TV shows, nor are we like reporters showing hidden worlds to tourists. It takes time.” Patience explained the bright naturalism of the film, which included Truffle Hunter Sergio in his jeep after scoring. Sing on victory, or 84-year-old Aurelio explains to his cherished dog, Bilba, what will happen after his death.

As Kershaw said, the directors tried to shoot with the locals as if they were “dialogue”-never forcing anything. Sometimes they would shoot lunches for three full hours, with the two and the camera behind the black felt curtains, as if a wildlife photographer was hiding. They usually manage it once a day; there are only 107 shots in the entire film (over 1,250 on average).

Don’t be bothered by… the two stars of the documentary. Photo: Entertainment Pictures/Alamy

Their penetration reaches deep into the sight of the hounds. Occasionally breaking the classic scheme is the “dog camera” sequence, in which there is only a wet nose in the frame, and the canine teeth along the forest trail following the smell of truffles. Dweck and Kershaw used a safety belt to secure the GoPro camera to the dog’s head. After many failed attempts, it was finally designed by the shoemaker in the village. Kershaw said the video they retrieved was instructive and revealed the “oneness” between truffle hunters and their dogs. Looking back at it, they realized that humans were using a unique dialect—not even recognized by translators from the region—to talk to their animals. The interdependence between humans and dogs seems almost as deep as the interdependence between truffles and trees.

Deciphering hidden and endangered subcultures is the pair’s specialty. “We are all fascinated by them,” Dweck said. “But they are hard to find.” The first film they collaborated on, Last game, Focus on the remaining racing track on Long Island, and strive not to be swallowed up by real estate development. In the case of Truffle Hunter, modern capitalism has once again become a source of stress — imposing unsustainable demands on fragile and limited resources and potentially tearing apart the surrounding culture. For the few pensioners who adopted it, this goes beyond the obscene money changing hands in the distant food scene. Angelo-a Rasputin-style purist with a long beard, living in a dilapidated villa-hated corruption, and he gave up truffle hunting altogether for any reason.

The chiaroscuro interior... Truffle Hunter.
The chiaroscuro interior… Truffle Hunter. Photo: Entertainment Pictures/Alamy

However, Dweck firmly believes that “movies are very powerful” and can protect these embattled corners. Attention from The Last Race Heyuan Circuit Owners are encouraged to sell it to people who are committed to keeping it open, and now the track is booming.His plan to help protect the Piedmont truffle culture has two aspects: conservation work raises funds to purchase land on behalf of the locals to prevent the truffle-growing oak forest from being deforested; and an education plan to train the next generation of truffle hunters to teach them how to Manage the fragile life cycle of fungi and the wider forest ecosystem.

Dweck also wants to educate the audience. He said that the exciting scenery and chiaroscuro interior design of this movie is designed to teach people “how to look again”; to coax us to fully experience this forest haven. Of course, movies can never replicate the two most important senses of truffle-taste and smell? Dweck is fearless. “We are almost here. We are really close. It’s like in the scene near the end, Judge Truffle is eating pasta. You start the sound from an objective point of view, he bit more and more things, you heard that one. Opera, recording by Caruso in 1926. Then you enter his brain, and all these pleasures swallowed his body.”

I have enough emotion to beg a friend to introduce me to his truffle dealer in the Cévennes near France. A few days later, I found out that I had given him 63 euros-a small mushroom. Young fry in the truffle field.

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