Airdate: Honeyland

Macedonian doco portrays the life of Hatidže Muratova, a keeper of wild bees.

Documentary streaming platform iwonder screens Sundance winner Honeyland this week.

Filmed in Macedonia, this portrays the life of Hatidže Muratova, a keeper of wild bees.

iwonder, Head of Content Alexandra Fox-Hughes says: “From the first scene until the last, it’s impossible not to be transfixed by the beauty and serenity of this forgotten world framed by the stoicism and quiet despair of Hatidze’s respectful and delicate relationship with nature. What this beautiful and heartbreaking films shows us about life in a remote mountain village tells us a huge amount about the wider world and the repercussions for humanity of interfering with the precious balance of nature.”

New to iwonder this June 4th comes Honeyland, 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. With two nominations at the 2020 Academy Awards in the categories for Best International Feature Film and Best Documentary Feature, Honeyland became the first documentary in history to receive a nomination in both categories in the history of the Oscars.

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.

It doesn’t take long however, before Hussein, the itinerant family’s patriarch, senses opportunity and develops an interest in selling his own honey. With seven young mouths to feed and nowhere to graze his cattle, he soon casts Hatidze’s advice aside in his hunt for profit. 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. Even as the family provides a much-needed respite from Hatidze’s isolation and loneliness, her very means of survival are threatened.

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.

Thursday June 4 on iwonder.

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