Honeyland (2019) dir. Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov
Venue: Harrie Massey LT
Honeyland is a 2019 Macedonian documentary film portraying the life of Hatidže Muratova, a loner beekeeper of wild bees who lives in the remote mountain village of Bekirlija, and follows her lifestyle before and after neighbours move in next door. The film was initially planned as a short film documenting the region surrounding the river Bregalnica but its area of focus changed when the directors met Hatidže.
Filming of Honeyland lasted three years, and 400 hours of footage was filmed. Several environmental topics are explored, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and exploitation of natural resources. The directors primarily focused on the visual aspects and wanted to portray humanity’s balance with the ecosystem through Hatidže, and consumerism and resource depletion through her neighbours. The documentary also portrays Hatidže’s relationships with her bedridden mother and her neighbours. Honeyland contains elements of several documentary styles, including fly on the wall, direct cinema, and cinéma vérité.
Honeyland received universal critical acclaim from film critics, who praised its attention to detail and applauded its conservationist message. The documentary received numerous awards and nominations at film festivals, including two nominations at the 92nd Academy Awards in the categories for Best International Feature Film and Best Documentary Feature. Honeyland is the first documentary to receive a nomination in both categories in the history of the Oscars.