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An amazing documentary... that I hate.
If you have the emotional capacity to view family, environment, animal, and community violence then by all means knock yourself out and be awed by this 'resilience porn'.
If you find yourself feeling thin, drained, too empathetic... find another film for now.
Such timing of the crew being there makes one wonder about exploitation and "luck"...crafted or well placed or ?
Jaw dropping documentary of a unique human story from the remote Balkan hamlet near the village Bekirlija in the central region of North Macedonia. Everything the critics in its trailer say is true: Tells a story of a forgotten place so strange that most westerners couldn't even imagine it. Out at the edge of the world, a way of life will be threatened. One woman will guard a fragile balance. Pulses with vividly observed detail. Contains worlds in one beautiful story.
It's hard to make a documentary where the camera is in tight spaces and close up.
Sad to say I didn't make it all the way through.
This plucky near 55 year old woman supports herself and her invalid mother by the sale of her honey which she carries to a modern bustling city and negotiates with sellers. The film is slow and peaceful as it opens a window into the austere life in this area of Macedonia. Then questionable and selfish neighbors move in encroaching on her life and the limited resources available. Fascinating if one is interested in old arts and skills and living in near isolation.
Was surprised to see 93 holds on this obscure indy documentary that I picked up at random. Bleak. Disturbing. Depressing. Thought-provoking.
Actually the country is called North Macedonia as just a correction in the library synopsis where this film takes place showing the life of Hatidze Muratova as a very lonely wild bee keeper and sole caregiver of an elderly mother. Traditionally the youngest female sibling can't marry till their parents have past on. Her solitude in her abandoned village is ended when a nomadic rowdy family of cattle herders camp themselves near her home. They also want to beekeep and Hatidze tries to teach them her natural and ecological balanced way of taking only half the honey and leaving the other half in hives for a natural sustainable production. She quickly get into a conflict with the family when they decide to exploit the resources around them as quickly and as profitably as they can causing great collateral damage to the bee ecology. Even though a small and bit slow moving documentary it can also be seen as an allegory on how greed and exploitation disrupts the natural world and the people who survived on it's natural cycles.
Recommended viewing. Different than most documentaries. No narration or explanations. A bit slow-moving, but gradually moves forward. Pay attention. Social commentary on several different levels. Heartbreaking yet hopeful. Had us thinking about it and reflecting on its messages for days afterward.
One of the most extraordinary documentaries of the past few years. Nominated for an Oscar. I think this is the first Macedonian film I've ever seen.
Honeyland is a film that demands your attention however it is also a film that given patience, will get under your skin and stay with you for a very long time. It is a documentary but it feels very loosely put together avoiding typical construction or techniques of the usual documentary. Nothing is spelled out for you, it is up to you to witness, in the purest sense of the word. The film is 'made' in your head. Finally, it is hard to express how moving the film is. It leaves you with much to reflect on. 5 stars.