Genre: Documentary, Drama. Dirs: Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov. Country: Republic of Macedonia.
A multiple award winner at Sundance, Honeyland is a visually sumptuous look at the endangered tradition of Macedonian wild beekeeping, the tenacious woman keeping it alive and the powerful environmental message her efforts have for us all.
Deep in the mountainous heart of the Balkans, far from civilisation, Hatidze Muratova tends to her elderly, frail mother, and to her wild bees. The women are the last remaining hold-outs of a crumbling village, and of a dying way of life: farming honey sustainably. But when a new family settles in the area, bringing modernity and a capitalist mentality with them, they threaten everything Hatidze has spent her life protecting.
Debut documentarians Ljubo Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska spent more than three years with Hatidze, who provided the filmmakers remarkable access to her life, resulting in a film that feels intimate, collaborative and unguarded. Gently funny but full of dramatic moments, it’s a poignant snapshot of a fragile balancing act – between humankind and the natural world, past and present, sustainability and exploitation. A thoroughly engaging parable for humanity’s fractured relationship with the lands we live on, as well as being a memorable document of a truly remarkable woman, Honeyland is also gorgeous: it won Sundance’s World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematography (as well as the World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Prize, and another Special Jury Award for Impact for Change).
“Honeyland is a vibrant, fascinating, and sober documentary that examines a serious issue by way of a human portrait … sometimes funny, sometimes beautiful and often enlightening.” – Vox