Honeyland (2019)


When nomadic beekeepers break Honeyland’s basic rule (take half of the honey, but leave half to the bees), the last female beehunter in Europe must save the bees and restore natural balance.

"Honeyland" and Greta Thurnberg - The new heroes of our time
The two phenomenon have been a subject to a similar bipolar division of reactions in the public where some glorified them, and others criticized them up to a point of hatred. This fact alone, proves that they have already accomplished their goal, they have had an impact on the world regarding subjects which societies, leaders, and people in general tend to persistently ignore.
I hope that we are entering a new era, where we leave behind the glorification of petty subject for plain fun and diminishing current events. Our societies by now have placed the highest values on athletes, famous actors, modern aristocracy... I hope the time has come for ordinary people, "anonymous" like Greta Thunberg and "Honeyland" with the authors and the main protagonist - Hatidze will be the new driving force in societies where with their influence they will cause radical societal changes and become the new heroes of a new era.
Hatizde, the last beekeeper of wild bees in Europe, admires everyone with universal values which we recognize in every culture, religion, philosophical and spiritual doctrine in the world, that most likely have been passed down and perfected from one generation to another. Respect for nature, humility, moderation, and compassion are silently reflected in the background through the entire course of the movie. Hatidze enjoys the companion of the bees, simply loving them, selflessly sharing the honey with them, half for people, half for them, - an extraordinary example of sustainability.
The fact that for the first time in the history of the Oscars a documentary is entering the competition in the category of best international movie, where all of the other nominees are based on fiction, is not surprising. Thanks to the authors for the mastery of making a documentary into art, that you literary take in as a feature film.
It's also interesting to notice that an unusual moment in the movie is experienced diametrically opposite. Hatidze's call for the bees, Maat, mat, mat, mat which some viewers interpreted as quote: "When I heard her mumbling something, I turned it off..." While others like the Dutch movie critic Belinda van de Graf experienced that moment as, quote "Hatidze is singing to the bees..."
I personally experienced that moment as utterly poetic, a feeling I would like to explain further. The very call from Hatidze to the bees Maaaat, mat, mat, mat has its roots in the word matica - queen bee (lat. mater, matrix). It's particularly interesting that Hatidze is usually speaking ottoman Turkish language, but the word matica is also a Macedonian term, indicating an archaic word that surpasses today's languages. It's inevitable to ask a simple question. What magic is engaged in the queen, a simple insect, recognizing those words as a friendly call from a human, where according to Darwin's Theory of evolution these two species are so profoundly different?
Namely, when I first saw the trailer with awe last spring, the moment when Hatidze called the bees with the call Maaaat, mat, mat, mat is a moment that became so familiar and close to me. I suddenly remembered my childhood where in a mountain village in eastern Macedonia, a grandmother explained how they used to keep bees in woven baskets, identical like the ones Hatidze uses. In short, among other things was the recognition of the call to the queen Maaaat, mat, mat, mat quietly gathering the bees around and communicating with them. In that moment the pieces of the puzzle came together and I realized that when Hatidze is singing the "mantra", she is identifying herself with the queen bee, taking on her role, calling, gathering, communicating just like the queen would, Hatidze becomes the queen bee. An incredible symbiosis between human and nature.
With this story I want to express my admiration of the movie, to the authors as well as to the audience. They have acknowledged the fact that there is no successful or unsuccessful life, no important or unimportant human, no significant or insignificant story, all lives are successful, unrepeatable experiences. This movie casted a light on a seemingly simple life, and uplifted and glorified a supposedly ordinary human, which turned out to be deeply ethical, pure, loving, towards people and nature alike, and simply beautiful, just like the movie itself.

Trice Films, Apolo Media by Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov.
Stars: Hatidze Muratova, Nazife Muratova, Hussein Sam, Ljutvie Sam.

Genres: Documentary, Drama

Keywords: tradition beehive cow rural area new neighbor bee honey beekeeping macedonia beekeeper mother daughter relationship large family


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