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Review | ‘Honeyland’

Engaging Drama About Macedonian Beekeepers

Honeland | Credit: Courtesy

Layers of intrigue draw us into the slow-moving but rewarding Honeyland, starting with a cursory description: It’s an engagingly dramatic film about Macedonian beekeepers, anchored by the spirited, snaggle-toothed charmer Hatidze Muratova. In an outpost of a rugged, barren homeland, where her only family connection is an ailing mother, she tends her time-honored and bee-sensitive work with hives, selling her prized wares in the capital of Skopje. But big trouble ensues in the form of a nomadic Turkish family settling on the neighboring property. From a cinematic perspective, perhaps the most compelling aspect is that the film — which plays like a naturalistic feature with gifted non-actors — is, in fact, a documentary, painstakingly crafted by filmmakers Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov. They embedded themselves with the subjects for three years and have come away with a fascinating human-interest story and environmental cautionary tale. 

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