A new Canadian documentary tells the story of a lesser known obsession: A delicious desire to hunt mangoes in Bali, track down durian in Borneo, and scrutinize Renaissance paintings for ancient, lost figs. The Fruit Hunters intersects culture, history and geography to explore the hidden world of exotic fruit and those who are obsessed with it.
The film follows devoted fruit fanatics, like American actor Bill Pullman, as they embark on crusades to taste, grow, discover and preserve endless varieties and species of fruit.
Montreal director Yung Chang captures the vibrant colours and dripping juices in this film inspired by the book of the same name, written by another Montrealer, Adam Gollner.
While uncovering this subculture of fruit hunting, Chang also reveals how some fruit species are endangered by industrialization or deadly fungus. But the main attraction is the fruits themselves and the film also offers fascinating factoids about Macintosh apples, Bing cherries, and the 600 kinds of mangoes.
CBC News gave audiences a tease of the film and how it changes the way people look at fruit. In it, Chang says the intense love of fruit offers much more than just a treat for our tastebuds.
"Once you realize that there's this endless world of thousands of varieties of fruit, it's almost as if fruit gives you a sense of hope," he said.
The Fruit Hunters made its international debut at the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM), on Nov. 13. The film opens for general release on Nov. 23 at select theatres in Montreal and Toronto (see screening times). You can also catch the documentary Feb. 28, 2013, on The Nature of Things.