In evolutionary terms, many believe the proteins we ingested from eating other animals contributed to humanity’s growing brain size, facilitating man’s top-of-the–food chain status through a newfound superior intelligence. But it is fruit that inspires imagination, fuels passion, and conjures nostalgia in us. And fruit could be the force that leads us towards a food revelation, if not a food revolution.
Based on Adam Gollner’s bestselling book by the same name, award-winning Canadian documentary filmmaker Yung Chang’s The Fruit Hunters is a globetrotting tour of places and people to whom fruit is a way of life and not just a suggested daily dietary recommendation. From Borneo to Colombia, Italy to Hollywood, these fruit-obsessed individuals band together through the shared joy of sublime taste, a far cry from the tasteless factory-farmed apples, oranges and grapes most North Americans are subjected to. Fruit Hunters come from all walks of life, including life-long scientists, obsessed average joes, and celebrities like Bill Pullman, who search the world for new mango varieties, track down surreal-sounding fruit like orange cloudberry or the blackberry jam fruit, and the Superfruit, which alters your taste buds, making lemons taste sweet!
The film reflects a Willy Wonka-like bounty of “nature’s candy” that is unknown to much of the world–a bounty also at risk from monoculture farming, deforestation and loss of cultural knowledge as humans increasingly urbanize. Although different in style and content from his China-centric documentary hits Up the Yangtze (2008) and China Heavyweight (2012), Chang continues to succeed at connecting up-close experiences to their distant origins.