Honeyland

Stranger Says: Hatidze is living in a way that has all but disappeared. She subsists in the Macedonian mountains in much the same world as her ancestors hundreds of years ago: hut made of stones, no electricity, no running water, living off the land. She lives with her very old mother, surviving by harvesting honey and selling it in the town market. Much of documentary follows Hatidze as she takes care of her mother, does her beekeeping, and moves around the land. She exists in harmony with her environment, taking only what she needs. When a nomadic Turkish family with seven wild kids and a RV arrive and set up nearby with their herd of cows, they change the atmosphere drastically. The father is under heavy pressure to support the family, and he has little regard for the environment or engaging in sustainable practices. The doc is an interesting glimpse into a quiet, old way of life. Macedonia is a beautiful and ancient land with lots of rocks and few trees. The pace of the doc, however, is slow and there is little story, and the film can sag a bit while the people just hang out and go about their daily business. (GILLIAN ANDERSON)

SIFF Says: A painstakingly unobtrusive camera records one Macedonian woman's simple life: gathering wild honey, selling it in Skopje, caring for her bedridden mother, and eventually clashing with an interloping farm family who threaten her ecologically precarious occupation.

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Credits
Director
Ljubo Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska
Cast