“A bitter and mesmerically beautiful documentary.”—David Ehrlich, IndieWire
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 by 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, and 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 conflict, exposing 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, imbued with Hatidze’s magical vitality and optimism, reverberates with the cycles of life. The visually ambitious film is centered on the issues of human decency and the delicate balance of nature. Winner of the World Cinema Documentary Grand Jury Prize, the World Cinema Documentary Cinematography Award, and the World Cinema Special Jury Award for Impact and Change at the Sundance Film Festival. 2019, Macedonia, DCP, in Turkish with English subtitles. 87 minutes. Recommended for 12+.