Documentary Site started as an outlet for my interests in documentary 15 years ago. Since then, my presence has expanded to writing, managing Twitter fans, and connecting with makers, promoters, and fans of documentary. Probably three of the coolest things to come from this endeavor are being invited to write for POV, visiting Kartemquin studios, and leading a discussion after a screening of The Trials of Muhammad Ali. My current project involves watching and writing about 365 documentaries in 2014. Feel free to send along your suggestions via Twitter @documentarysite!

#365Docs: The Fruit Hunters (19/365)

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I’m watching 365 documentaries and writing about each one in 2014. Tweet your suggestions to @documentarysite, or send an e-mail to hmcintosh@documentarysite.com. Read more.

Note: This post may contain spoilers.

The lingering opening to Yung Chang’s 2012 documentary The Fruit Hunters evokes a passion for the fruit it shows as the voiceover asks, “Is it strange that when I look at certain fruit, I find myself… a bit… aroused?”

Based on Adam Leith Gollner’s book, The Fruit Hunters follows these seekers as they search for rare fruits, to save fruits, to find forgotten fruits, and to join people through fruits. The documentary travels the globe, from Hondouras to Hawaii and from Indonesia to Italy, following these hunters in their pursuits.

While passion drives fruit hunters generally, they frequently have greater goals. Industrial farming practices and deforestation threaten some fruits. Juan Aguilar races to prevent bananas from succumbing to fungus. Richard Campbell and Noris Ledesma race to save mangoes from disappearing in the wake of industrialization. Actor Bill Pullman attempts to plant an orchard near his home in hopes of dissuading yet another housing development.

The fruits themselves play a starring role as well. The documentary introduces multiple kinds through the people’s passions and the closing credits. (My favorite was the cannonball fruit.) While the sequences with people offer proficient standard framing, the sequences showing the fruits become art.

The documentary also attempts to weave in elements of fruit and history and sometimes uses re-enactments to illustrate these events. While offering interesting information, these re-enactments felt out of place among the other elements.

Overall, The Fruit Hunters felt like “The Amazing Race,” but with fruit. The prize is not the victory, but the passion is.

The Fruit Hunters is currently available on Netflix, Amazon Instant, and iTunes.

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Heather McIntosh
Heather McIntosh
Heather McIntosh started Documentary Site as a resource for documentary media and has greatly enjoyed the connections it has fostered over the years.
  • Alejandra Romero

    Is Never late….never give up! bravo Nicholas Wrathall!! Gracias Fernanda Rossi, the Dreams Organizer Guru!!!