Film Review: Honeyland

Whilst modern technology has revolutionised the way we produce food today, there are still those who hold on to traditions, whether by necessity or desire. However, progress can be at the expense of our long-term health or sustainability.  Indeed, terms like ‘artisan’ and ‘craft’ has re-appeared in modern language, often signifying something overpriced and trendy. Beekeeping has been a part of human history for thousands of years. Honeyland follows one of the last keepers of this ancient tradition.

Hatidze Muratova lives with her sick mother in an isolated mountain region of the Balkans. Living in a village with no electricity or running water, she’s the last in a long line of Macedonian wild beekeepers. She ekes out a living by periodically selling her high-quality honey in Skopje. When a loud and large itinerant family arrives, she tries to offer them her friendship and wisdom but greed threatens to ruin the delicate natural balance.

Honeyland is first and foremost visually intoxicating. It’s a work of great beauty. Directors Tamara Kotevska, and Ljubomir Stefanov shot the documentary over three years and this patience has clearly paid off. There’s a surprising intimacy with their subject. Hatidze is totally natural. Her trials and tribulations are born with good humour until she can eventually take no more. Honeyland is a wonderfully atmospheric and deeply moving film.

Honeyland is in cinemas from 13 September.

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