In this riveting documentary (the most awarded film from this year’s Sundance Film Festival!), the last female beehunter in Europe must save the bees and return the natural balance in HONEYLAND, when a family of nomadic beekeepers invade her land and threaten her livelihood.
Nestled in an isolated mountain region deep within the Balkans, Hatidze Muratova lives with her ailing mother in a village without roads, electricity or running water. She’s the last in a long line of Macedonian wild beekeepers, eking out a living farming honey in small batches to be sold in the closest city — a mere four hours’ walk away. Hatidze‘s peaceful existence is thrown into upheaval by the arrival of an itinerant family, with their roaring engines, seven rambunctious children and herd of cattle. Hatidze optimistically meets the promise of change with an open heart, offering up her affections, her brandy and her tried-and-true beekeeping advice.It doesn’t take long however, before Hussein, the itinerant family’s patriarch, senses opportunity and develops an interest in selling his own honey. Hussein has seven young mouths to feed and nowhere to graze his cattle, and he soon casts Hatidze’s advice aside in his hunt for profit. This causes a breach in the natural order that provokes a conflict with Hatidze that exposes the fundamental tension between nature and humanity, harmony and discord, exploitation and sustainability. Even as the family provides a much-needed respite from Hatidze‘s isolation and loneliness, her very means of survival are threatened.
HONEYLAND is an exploration of an observational Indigenous visual narrative that deeply impacts our behavior towards natural resources and the human condition.
“Mesmerically beautiful.” (Indiewire)
“This elegant film… begins as the intimate portrait of a beekeeper who makes famously good honey, and then expands to become something of a parable.” (NPR)
HONEYLAND (Ljubomir Stefanov & Tamara Kotevska, 2019 / 87 mins / PG / Turkish with English subs) When nomadic beekeepers break Honeyland’s basic rule (take half of the honey, but leave half to the bees), the last female beehunter in Europe must save the bees and restore natural balance.