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Honeyland

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What it’s about:

Set against the backdrop of climate change and its impact on a dwindling bee population, Honeyland is a fly-on-the-wall documentary that captures the heart-wrenching, visually stunning story of one of the last keepers of wild bees in Europe, Hatidže Muratova, as she struggles to maintain her principles and her livelihood against a new nemesis.

Names you might know:

Directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov and produced by Atanas Georgiev, the film made history for earning Oscar nominations for both Best Documentary and Best International Feature in 2020.

Why it’s worth your time:

Living in a remote community in the mountains of Macedonia, with limited access to electricity or water, beekeeping and her ailing mother are all Hatidže Muratova has. When a new neighbor moves in and takes an interest in her line of work, she welcomes the company at first, and even helps share the passed-down methods of ancient beekeeping.

Life takes a turn when the man decides to embrace more aggressive industrial methods, which Muratova philosophically opposes. Soon both her life’s work and the local water supply are threatened, and she must find a way to protect the bees and the community that’s been her lifeblood. Muratova’s determination and dignity throughout the film carry the emotional weight, while challenging us to consider the costs of our consumption on a critical part of our ecosystem.

The takeaway:

A visually stunning, intimately told story that will alternately grip you and move you as it drives home the urgency of the larger issues at stake in a rarely seen part of the world.

Watch it with:

A big screen to capture the cinematography, and a second screen so you can look up how to help honey bees.

Worth noting:

After Honeyland won three prizes at Sundance, the filmmakers made the unusual decision to use their winnings to help their subject, finding Muratova a new house in a bigger village with better resources nearby.  She now divides her time between the two villages.

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