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Junming 'Jimmy' Wang,
Set in 1825, Clare, a young Irish convict woman, chases a British officer through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family. On the way she enlists the services of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy, who is also marked by trauma from his own violence-filled past.
Gaetan Dugas was openly gay. In early 1980s he contracted what was termed "gay cancer". He provided blood samples and 72 names of his former sex partners. Dugas was demonized for his promiscuity and wrongfully identified as patient zero.
The last female beehunter in Europe must save the bees and return the natural balance in Honeyland, when a family of nomadic beekeepers invade her land and threaten her livelihood. This film is an exploration of an observational Indigenous visual narrative that deeply impacts our behavior towards natural resources and the human condition.
Honeyland (2019) was directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov. It's an extraordinary Macedonian film considered to be a documentary.
Hatidze Muratova portrays herself, as does Nazife Muratova, her mother. Hatidze is a beekeeper in a seemingly remote area in Macedonia. Actually, it's relatively close to the capitol city of Skopje. However, the terrain is truly wild. We don't see any evidence of advanced technology except for jet vapor trails high overhead.
Hatidze is a successful beekeeper. Her success is possible because she is carefully attuned to the bees and their life cycle. Her rule is "one-half of the honey for the bees, one-half for us."
All is going well until the arrival of Hussein Sam and his wife Ljutvie Sam. They are the parents of a large, sprawling family. Their livelihood comes from raising cattle, but Hussain soon realizes that he can make additional money by raising bees. However, he's greedy, and matters start to take a wrong turn.
The reason I wrote that the film is "considered to be a documentary" is because it's hard to believe that the Sam family would arrive on cue to give the story its basic plot. Hussain isn't a villain, but he's certainly not a hero. Why would he allow himself and his family to be portrayed in such a negative way? They're a real family, but I assume that this part of the movie was scripted to fit in with the basic theme.
The theme is, clearly, living in harmony with nature vs. pushing nature out of harmony. (We discussed this with friends after the screening, and they brought this up first. Also, other IMDb reviewers have mentioned it. I think most viewers would agree.)
We saw this film in Rochester's great Little Theatre. **If you have the opportunity to see this movie on the large screen, don't pass it up.** That's because the images are so strikingly beautiful that a small screen won't do full justice to them.
I don't usually cite cinematographers, but here is a situation where they deserve to be recognized: Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma.
Honeyland has an extremely high IMDb rating of 8.1. Even if you can't see it in a theater, it's still definitely worth seeing. Don't miss it.
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