Hatidze lives with her ailing mother in the mountains of Macedonia, making a living cultivating honey using ancient beekeeping traditions. When an unruly family moves in next door, what at first seems like a balm for her solitude becomes a source of tension as they, too, want to practice beekeeping, while disregarding her advice. A buzzworthy hit at Sundance, where it won three awards, including the World Cinema Documentary Grand Prize, Honeyland is a visually stunning human portrait that has something sweet for everyone.
“The opening frames of Honeyland are so rustically sumptuous that you wonder, for a second, if they’ve somehow been art-directed. Elegantly dressed in a vivid ochre blouse and emerald headscarf, captured in long shot as she nimbly wends her way through a craggy but spectacular Balkan landscape, careworn middle-aged beekeeper Hatidze Muratova heads to check on her remote, hidden colony of bees—delicately extracting a dripping wedge of honeycomb the exact saturated shade [of] her outfit. With man and nature so exquisitely coordinated, it’s as if Hatidze herself has grown from the same rocky land, and in a sense, she has.”—Guy Lodge, Variety