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Honeyland (2019)Honeyland (2019)

Honeyland (2019)

A cinematic achievement in the portrayal of the last wild beekeeper in Europe

Documentary

best
THE VERY BEST

9.3

movie

Macedonia

Bosnian, Macedonian, Serbo-Croatian

Instructive

2019

Female director, Ljubomir Stefanov

Hatidze Muratova, Hatidzhe Muratova, Hussein Sam

89 min

Synopsis

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.

Our Take

9.3
Bilal Zouheir

The first movie to be nominated for both the Documentary and Foreign-Language Oscar categories and the most awarded film of the 2019 Sundance Festival, Honeyland quietly accompanies the last wild beekeepers in Europe over three years. It portrays the lonely and primordial life of Muratova, which is centered around harvesting honey according to the rules of her ancient ancestors and caring for her ailing mother.

Originally planned as an environmental documentary, this film evolved into something completely different, as it often goes with immersive documentaries, when the Macedonian directors Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov met beekeeper Hatidže. The film takes another sudden turn when Muratova’s life is upended by a nomadic family settling next door, threatening her tradition, her way of life, and her natural environment.

This unbelievable cinematic journey is a feast for the eyes thanks to the amazing work done by cinematographer Samir Ljuma. However, despite the awe-inspiring imagery, Honeyland never imposes on its subject, creating an incredible intimacy with Hatidže’s life and her natural environment. Breathtaking!

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