The Macedonian movie Honeyland was one of the most remarkable films of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, winner of the Grand Jury Prize for the best documentary film, the Best Cinematography Award for cameramen Fajmi Daut and Samir Ljuma and the Special Jury Award for Impact for Change.
The story takes place in an isolated mountain region deep within the Balkans where wild beekeeper Hatidze Muratova lives with her ailing mother in a village without roads, electricity or running water. Hatidze’s peaceful existence is thrown into upheaval by the arrival of an itinerant family, with their roaring engines, seven children and herd of cattle.
Hussein, the family’s patriarch, senses opportunity and develops an interest in selling his own honey. This causes a breach in the natural order that provokes a conflict with Hatidze that exposes the fundamental tension between nature and humanity, harmony and discord, exploitation and sustainability.
“Hatidze’s story is a microcosm for a wider idea of how closely intertwined nature and humanity are, and how much we stand to lose if we ignore this fundamental connection,” according to co-directors Ljubo Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska.
Every frame of Honeyland pulses with the cycles of life and glows with Hatidze’s magical vitality and optimism. It is a tribute to two endangered and priceless treasures: human decency and the delicate balance of nature.