Hatidze Muratova, Nazife Muratova, Hussein Sam
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…a sublime and deeply moving documentary…
This is a sublime and deeply moving documentary about the sad, hard and lonely life of a beekeeper and her 85-year-old mother. (And with a broader ecological message.) Beautifully made over three years, and pared down from 400 hours of footage, its events unfold against the stark yet highly photogenic backdrop of the Macedonian countryside. That’s when they’re not transpiring in the dark and claustrophobic confines of the very primitive cottage the two women – who are actually ethnically Turkish – call home. Or when the younger one goes into town (with its attendant culture clash) to sell her honey.
Life is really tough here, for both the people and their animals, but though the doco’s atmosphere is abidingly downbeat there is some pleasure to be had in the revelations about the nuts and bolts of wild beekeeping. Hatidze Muratova’s (the daughter) uphill struggle gets even harder when a large and unaccommodating family (and its cattle) moves in next door. Their approach to apiary has serious repercussions. And then there is the ongoing plight of Hatidze’s virtually bed-ridden mother, Nazife. “You can’t take me out”, says Nazife, matter-of-factly and without self-pity. “I’ve become like a tree.”
Cinema – even of the fictional variety – tends inherently to be a window on another world, but it’s especially true of a microcosmic life-in-the-raw study like this one. Honeyland was well shot and very deftly edited, and it stays with you after viewing and actually becomes even more affecting.
Don’t miss it.