Half For Me, Half For You
"Honeyland". Photo by Ljubo Stefanov

Half For Me, Half For You

An Interview with Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma
Dariusz Kuźma
time 10 minutes

“I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life. We went there for the first time and it already felt like we knew her all our lives. And for me this was a process of growing up to be a better human being.” Dariusz Kuźma talks candidly with Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma, the cinematographers of Honeyland – one of the most discussed documentary films of 2019 and currently shortlisted for two Academy Awards.

Dariusz Kuźma: I know that Honeyland started as a commissioned project – you were hired to shoot a short documentary dedicated to nature conservation. How did it evolve into a poignant feature about forgotten ways of beekeeping and different shades of being human?

Fejmi Daut: This abandoned village you see on the screen, Bekirlijia, is located more or less in the middle of North Macedonia, near the Bregalnica river, in a strikingly beautiful area that is basically forgotten by almost everyone. Time flows differently there. While we were doing research with directors Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska for the short documentary you mentioned, we heard about an old Turkish family living there, in seclusion from the rest of the world, keeping bees in an almost ancient way. We decided to go there and meet with these people; find some interesting and fresh ideas for our project.

And then you met Hatidze, this wild beekeeper and a beautiful human being who stays with her sick mother in a world that should not exist by modern standards, living almost exclusively on what she gets from her symbiotic relationship with the surrounding nature.

Fejmi Daut: There was an instant


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Also read:

Our Favourite Films from the ‘New East’
“Leviathan” by Andrey Zvyagintsev. Photo: Against Gravity/press materials

Our Favourite Films from the ‘New East’

Top 10 of the Decade
Carmen Gray

When it comes to cinema, the idea of a European ‘New East’ might just be a mirage. The term is often used in the Western media as a simple category to keep lumping post-communist countries together, as if they still have something distinctly in common. Perhaps they don’t, and do not wish to be forever cursed to be ‘not West’, an imaginary other defined in opposition. But no great cinema exists outside history, or the past’s legacy, even when its project is breaking free from tired limitations and labels, and transforming the world anew. In tribute to where the past decade has taken countries of the New East, or rather, where they have taken it, and their identities, creatively, we have compiled a list of 10 of the best films. These are 10 of the era’s best, from the region, sure, but from anywhere, full stop. So oppressive groupings or labels need not apply. Other strong examples of what these 10 films do so well also get special mentions.

All These Sleepless Nights  

If there’s any film of the last decade that embodied a young generation’s optimistic hope, it has to be Michał Marczak’s All These Sleepless Nights (2016), an intimate and fluid blend of documentary and fiction. “I Hear A New World”, a pop number by experimental trailblazer Joe Meek, sounds out as the camera glides across Warsaw’s night skyline, fireworks exploding around the Palace of Culture. As a gift from Stalin, the gargantuan building has been a symbol of oppression, but this opening signals a readiness to remake the capital anew, shaking off the grasp of troubling memory. We join two art school friends, Krzysztof (Krzysztof Bagiński) and Michał (Michał Huszcza) through a summertime haze of parties. They are open to new experiences, yet introspective, at a crossroad in their lives. Warsaw appears as a city that has come into its own identity, a vanguard of vibrant creativity, with no insecure need to imitate some hipper elsewhere. Infused with buoyant possibility, the film came out before the Brexit vote, before Trump’s election, before a sharp rise in nationalism across the globe, and before heightened anxiety over the climate crisis. The energy of a transformative youth culture also infuses And Then We Danced (2019), shot in Tbilisi by Levan Akin. Partly shot within the Georgian capital’s thriving nightlife, it focuses on a taboo gay romance in a traditional dance troupe, embodying the clash between old and new ways of thinking.

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