Combustible Celluloid
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With: Hatidze Muratova, Nazife Muratova, Hussein Sam, Ljutvie Sam
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: Turkish, Macedonian, Serbo-Croatian, with English subtitles
Running Time: 86
Date: 07/26/2019

Honeyland (2019)

3 Stars (out of 4)

No Way to Bee

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I had been looking forward to catching up with this Macedonian film, which was nominated for Academy Awards for both Best Documentary and Best International Feature Film, and while I certainly admired it for its flawless verite style and beautiful depiction of details and process, it ended up making me nuts. It focuses on Hatidze Muratova, who is one of the last beekeepers in her small village. She knows her business, and is able to sell her honey at the market for a higher price because her customers know it's the best. She walks miles to and from the village to get supplies and sell her wares, and she cares for her 85 year-old mother in their little hovel. Then, enter the most obnoxious family you've ever seen outside of a dumb Hollywood comedy. Greedy and stupid, the arguing, noisy, rude intruders look to put down roots, and the father learns about beekeeping from Muratova; but he does it wrong, rushing to make more money, and ends up destroying everything Muratova spent her life building. And that's it. I can't figure out why one critic called this a "comedy," but it certainly has parallels to much of today's world. For example, San Francisco used to be a city full of friendly misfits and artists, and now it's full of entitled tech workers, everything is too expensive, and everyone's angry. So Honeyland is the story of how the modern world just swoops in and destroys everything, leaving nothing good behind. Whee.

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