Yung Chang's The Fruit Hunters tracks seductive story of exotic fruit
From a pair in Southeast Asia championing the preservation of rare mango strains to a detective in Italy seeking the forgotten fruits depicted in Renaissance-era paintings, Yung Chang's new film dives into the world of extreme fruit aficionados.
The Fruit Hunters weaves together the stories of several devoted fruit fans with a look back at the history of how humans discovered, enjoyed, cultivated and engineered various types of fruit over time.
Mankind "co-evolved with fruit and one would not exist without the other. Fruit [is] designed to seduce us [with its] looks and shapes and colours," the Montreal-based filmmaker told CBC News.
"By being seduced, we then cultivated and made fruit look and taste better."
Chang is the award-winning filmmaker best known for his debut title Up the Yangtze, which explored the human impact of China's rapid development and building of the Three Gorges Dam across the Yangtze River through the stories of young people working on a riverboat cruise ship.
His critically acclaimed follow-up, China Heavyweight, explored social change in China as it followed a Western-style boxing coach searching for prospective fighters.
Based on the bestselling book by Adam Gollner, Chang's latest film tackles issues such as preservation, commerce and genetic modification in its sweeping look at our relationship with fruit over the centuries.
The Fruit Hunters had its world premiere at the Montreal International Documentary Festival on Nov. 10 and will close Toronto's Reel Asian Film Festival on Saturday before opening in wider Canadian release beginning Nov. 23.
"Once you realize there is this endless world of thousands of varieties of fruit, it's almost as if fruit gives you a sense of hope, a sense that there's this diversity out there," Chang said.
"I want people to get hooked, addicted to fruit. I certainly have, in making this movie."