Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
Joel interviews the MIFF team to find out what's in this year's program announcement! Click to listen to our special SWITCHCast ep now.x
review, Honeyland, Honeyland, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Hatidzhe Muratova, Nazife Muratova, Hussein Sam, Ljutvie Sam, Ljubomir Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska, Documentary film rating

HONEYLAND

★★★

BELIEVE THE BUZZ

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Ashley Teresa
2nd February 2020

The 2019 - 2020 awards season has been quite the rollercoaster, but one of the most curious and consistent narratives is the undeniable buzz from the most unlikely of places: an 87-minute documentary from a tiny village in Macedonia. 'Honeyland' has been garnering unanimous praise for its ability to tell such a small-scale story while touching on its massive cultural and environmental implications, and while it certainly deserves the spotlight, this is the rare case of a documentary where its unique style is both to its benefit and its detriment.

The result of three years of filming and over 400 hours of footage, 'Honeyland' tells the story of Hatidze Muratova, a Macedonian/Turkish beekeeper desperately trying to cling to her current way of life and traditional beekeeping techniques, despite mounting capitalist pressures from rival beekeeper neighbours. The shots of her retrieving honeycomb on a cliff's edge with no safety precautions are reminiscent of the blood-pumping stress of last year's excellent 'Free Solo'. Muratova puts her blood, sweat and tears into her bees, leaving half of their honeycomb in order to ethically and sustainably harvest honey. Muratova's neighbours play the role of her moral foil, the consumerist-focused beekeepers whose processes endanger the creatures that they exploit. It's a classic case of humankind's obsessively suicidal tendencies, seemingly intent of destroying the natural order of the world we inhabit.

WATCH: 'HONEYLAND'
WATCH HUNDREDS OF UNIQUE FILMS
SWITCH
WATCH

As visually stunning as 'Honeyland' is, my response to its filming style is regretfully cynical. The documentary feels more like a narrative film through the use of cinéma vérité, a technique that renders directors Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov as flies on the wall, simply letting the camera roll as Muratova goes about her business. Though hardly seeming like the type to play it up for the camera, one can't help but wonder how knowing there is a camera on her would affect how Muratova and others around her. It creates an unfortunate air of artificiality, but where other documentaries acknowledge the artifactuality by embracing the more common conventions of the genre, 'Honeyland' appears to be rejecting them. Ultimately, it makes for an experience that's aiming for something meaningful - and due to the nature of its subject matter, mostly achieves that - but unintentionally impedes its own success.

'Honeyland' is the rare case of a documentary where its unique style is both to its benefit and its detriment.

Despite my issues with its composition, 'Honeyland' is a thoughtful and compassionate exercise in exposing a lifestyle many have long ago abandoned, and one that deserves a place in the public consciousness. Muratova is only one woman, but her attempts to live an ethical life should be taken seriously by everyone that her story reaches.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 05/03/2020
RUN TIME: 1h 27m
CAST: Hatidzhe Muratova
Nazife Muratova
Hussein Sam
Ljutvie Sam
DIRECTORS: Ljubomir Stefanov
Tamara Kotevska
PRODUCER: Atanas Georgiev
Honeyland.Earth
HoneylandDoc
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Cosmic Sin - A film that delivers on the promise of its title
TRENDINGCOSMIC SINA film that delivers on the promise of its title
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
Who the hell is Bloodshot? - A primer on Vin Diesel's superhero
TRENDINGWHO THE HELL IS BLOODSHOT?A primer on Vin Diesel's superhero
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
The World at War - The landmark documentary series restored in high definition
TRENDINGTHE WORLD AT WARThe landmark documentary series restored in high definition
Malila: The Farewell Flower - Contemplating love and loss
TRENDINGMALILA: THE FAREWELL FLOWERContemplating love and loss
Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two - New villains, same problems
TRENDINGBATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN, PART TWONew villains, same problems
Buckley's Chance - Not worth a chance
TRENDINGBUCKLEY'S CHANCENot worth a chance
Calm with Horses - A savage and sensitive Irish crime drama
TRENDINGCALM WITH HORSESA savage and sensitive Irish crime drama
Shiva Baby - A comedy of discomfort
TRENDINGSHIVA BABYA comedy of discomfort
The Glass Room - Stunning yet soulless
TRENDINGTHE GLASS ROOMStunning yet soulless
Some Kind of Heaven - A bizarre lens into a Floridian retirement village
TRENDINGSOME KIND OF HEAVENA bizarre lens into a Floridian retirement village
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
The Swallows of Kabul - Unflinching and gorgeously animated
TRENDINGTHE SWALLOWS OF KABULUnflinching and gorgeously animated
Cerulean Blue - Promising debut for a new voice in Australian cinema
TRENDINGCERULEAN BLUEPromising debut for a new voice in Australian cinema
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
2:22 - Mind-bending metaphysical mumbo-jumbo
TRENDING2:22Mind-bending metaphysical mumbo-jumbo
Birds of Prey - I'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
TRENDINGBIRDS OF PREYI'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
La Dolce Vita - Not as sweet as you'd think 60 years on
TRENDINGLA DOLCE VITANot as sweet as you'd think 60 years on
© 2011 - 2021 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us!