Another man (Aurelio), this one married, walks in the woods with a cane and a dog, singing a grumpy song to himself: “If you understand me, my dear husband, I will catch up with you!” We follow these two figures in a series of long, hyper-aesthetic takes, as they relive the glories of the past and generally refuse to give in to anyone (not even his wife, Maria). These older guys know everything there is to know about their business, so their behavior is kind of absurd, especially if you look at it from an outsider’s point of view.
Fortunately, Dweck and Kershaw also seem to love their characters (as they are) enough to understand their individual quirks and blockages. I love almost every scene featuring Angelo, a 78-year-old farmer and poet with a wispy beard and a black beret who brags about his past life as a womanizer acrobat. Angelo is a seller of consumed fish stories (“I enchanted them[…]I walked on stilts, it’s fascinating ”), and watching him talk to each other is often a pleasure.
Angelo is even funny when he’s the butt of (especially affectionate) filmmakers’ jokes, like when he’s trying to write a letter to an unspecified younger audience, and, with every sip of his wine, seems to take longer to make a point (any point). “We have to teach young people,” he said. “We have to go back to 50 years ago.” Then he pauses to scan his keyboard for a moment, and resumes: “When to undress a woman, you had to take off ten … dresses and four petticoats.” The 78-year-old, but funny, it’s funny.
I wish I could say the same about the scene where Angelo eagerly waves to truffle seller Gianfranco (and relatively young). Or the scene where Carlo takes his time consuming an expensive dish of truffles, and, after a few long seconds of chewing pasta and listening to Enrico Caruso singing an air of Tosca, he decides: “I like that. Very well. Fortunately, despite the general hustle and bustle of its creators, ‘The Truffle Hunters’ is quite good, if only because guys like Carlo and Angelo are more charming than they are eccentric.