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Byron Shire
January 18, 2022

Films of exquisite taste at the Bangalow Film Festival

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A man and his dog (and the fungi they search for) in The Truffle Hunters

Just about everybody loves food. And one of the things that people love just as much as food is watching food on the big screen, and the little screen, and the in between screen.

At this year’s Bangalow Film Festival there are two wonderful food films to tantalise your tastebuds – one about cakes, and the other about truffles.

Directed by Laura Gabbert, Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles documents the collaboration between world renowned chef, Yotam Ottolenghi, (Jerusalem, Plenty) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. This feature film follows five visionary pastry makers as they endeavour to construct an extravagant food gala based on the art exhibit Visitors to Versailles. Exploring the relationship between modern-day social media and the open court of the French Monarchy, the film studies the alarmingly cyclical intersection between food, culture, and history. As well as Ottolenghi, the film features Dinara Kasko, Dominique Ansel, Sam Bompas, Ghaya Oliveira and Janice Wong.

The second film features truffles and those Earthlings with a nose for finding them.

Selected for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, The Truffle Hunters follows a group of eccentric, elderly truffle hunters, and their beloved truffle dogs through the forest as they covertly seek out one of the most prized food ingredients in the world. Traversing the picturesque Italian countryside, directors Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw build a warm portrait of the passionate hunters, who discuss the joys of working in the wild, the stiff competition of the hunt, and the creeping effects of climate change. A window into a multi-million-dollar industry – in which truffles are auctioned on plush velvet cushions – the film delves into this mercurial market and its denizens, from an anonymous buyer sourcing the fungi for a president, to the dark-alley bargains between sweet-talking truffle traders and cagey hunters. 

The Truffle Hunters screens at the Bangalow Showground on Sunday 17 January at 8pm and Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles will screen at the A&I Hall on Saturday 23 January at 5.10pm. The Bangalow Film Festival runs from 13–23 January. For more information visit the website: bangalowfilmfestival.com.au/

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