Nestled in an isolated mountain region deep within the Balkans, Hatidze Muratova lives with her ailing mother in a village without roads, electricity, or running water. She’s the last in a long line of Macedonian wild beekeepers, eking out a living farming honey in small batches to be sold in the closest city – a mere four hours’ walk away. Hatidze’s peaceful existence is thrown into upheaval by the arrival of an itinerant family, with their roaring engines, seven rambunctious children and herd of cattle. Hatidze optimistically meets the promise of change with an open heart, offering up her affections, her brandy, and her tried-and-true beekeeping advice.
The debut feature from documentarians Ljubo Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska HONEYLAND was shot over three years by a skeleton crew committed to an intimate collaboration between filmmakers and subject. HONEYLAND is made with the widescreen sweep of an epic, visually ambitious and driven by an unexpectedly dramatic narrative and a surprising sense of humor. It’s a tough and tender portrait of the delicate balance between humankind and nature, a glimpse at a fast disappearing way of life, and an unforgettable testament to one extraordinary woman’s resilience.
"The opening minutes of Honeyland are as astonishing — as sublime and strange and full of human and natural beauty — as anything I’ve ever seen in a movie... It may be a strange thing to say about a documentary, but Honeyland reminded me of “The Lorax,” Dr. Seuss’s great, prescient tale of ecological folly. Like the title character in that story, Hatidze is a kind of prophet. She speaks for the bees."
—A.O. Scott (NYT)