Honeyland Documentary Is A Must See
Honeyland is a stunning epic documentary drama, released on July 26 2019. This 85-minute documentary provides us with a glimpse into a forgotten world. It is filmed in an ancient Turkish vernacular with English subtitles, and has won 12 prizes so far, including three from the Sundance Institute.
This 2:09 minute long official trailer is a must see, as is the documentary itself. If you love bees, this documentary captures the primal cry of nature and the bees, helping us to understand we simply must respect our natural world, while we still can.
Deep in a forgotten mountain area in the Balkans of North Macedonia, Hatidze Muratova lives in a small village with no running water, no electricity or roads. She lives with and cares for her mother, who is ailing. Hatidze is the last female wild beekeeper of a Macedonian line of wild beekeepers in Europe. She uses ancient beekeeping traditions and secret chants as she tends to her bees without wearing much in the line of protective clothing. Selling small amounts of honey at the closest city, four hours walk away from her village, keeps Hatidze and her mother going but she is barely eking out a living.
Her quiet life is turned to turmoil when a nomadic itinerant family arrives to live close by with seven undisciplined children, a large herd of cattle and loud engines. Hatidze open-heartedly offers beekeeping advice, and even shares her special brandy.
Soon, the itinerant family patriarch, Hussein, sees a chance to sell his own honey. With nowhere to graze his cattle and many mouths to feed he embarks on a quest for profit, throwing Hatidze’s wise advice to the winds. Hussein breaks the basic rules of Honeyland. His actions cause a conflict with Hatidze and highlight the base tensions between sustainability and exploitation. Hatidze must save the bees. Only this can restore natural balance.
When Hatidze’s means of survival is threatened and natural order is breached, we reflect on the consequences of abusing the delicate balance between nature and humanity. Hatidze is a magical and resilient woman, determined to uphold a disappearing way of life.
It took three years for a dedicated skeleton crew of filmmakers to shoot Honeyland. The docu-drama was made with the widescreen sweep of an epic. The intimate collaboration between filmmakers and the subjects reveals the depths of the characters, intense verbal exchanges and unexpected humor.
This is the second project co-directors Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska have worked on together. These amazing people with beautiful big hearts used the funds they won as a film competition prize to buy a home for Hatidze in a village near her relatives so she could move there after her mother passed away. We look forward to them making many more magnificent and provocative epic documentaries in the future.
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