by Jay Weissberg
The format may seem familiar, but Benito Bautista’s “Serenade” is an infectiously winning example of the “Buena Vista Social Club”-style docu, involving a fading musical form and a group of older men who are its last practitioners. Harana is a type of serenade native to the Philippines, and classical guitarist Florante Aguilar goes searching for remaining “haranistas,” men in rural areas who were hired to sing to young ladies from beneath their windows. Lovely music, the bittersweet melancholy of a dying tradition, and an irresistible romanticism make this a fest charmer.
Source: Seattle International Film Festival
Director Benito Bautista’s film is a treasure chest of exquisitely romantic Filipino music sweeping these beautiful performers from real-life courting to the concert hall to stardom as the nostalgia of the song tradition grips the country. More than just a chronicle of the once lost art of the serenade, Harana recalls a time when human connection was prized above digital communication. This is the ultimate SIFF 2013 date movie!
Source: LA Asian Pacific Film Fest
HARANA is a serenade in itself. It is a film that proclaims its love and longing for a form of music and an archaic tradition, and beams a light on to it like a Philippine summer moonlight for all the world to see and hear. Bautista’s exquisite film creates stars of its elder haranistas, recalling Buena Vista Social Club and its unearthing of Cuban talent previously unheard outside its country. Their stories and their voices is at the heart of the film and Aguilar’s respect, dedication and reverence for the music is what guides it. Bautista’s film captures Aguilar’s pursuit with equal adoration for the music and fills it with memorable performances giving the songs and the performers the opportunity to completely enchant and delight the audience. – See more at: http://laapff.festpro.com/films/detail/harana_2013#sthash.PYUTU6HG.dpuf
Award-winning ‘Harana’ wows SF Bay Area Viewers
by Mila de Guzman
Source: Global Nation, Inquirer.Net
Harana Stuns Cinemalaya
by Joel Shepard
Source: Joel’s Blog
The inter-generational audience for the sold-out screening was floored. You could hear many older audience members quietly singing along to songs they remembered from their childhood; and the kids got completely swept up in the romance of it all. At the end there was a spontaneous standing ovation for the filmmakers and producers, the first one I’ve seen at Cinemalaya.
Who says that Festival Pass (I know, I know) is not worth its price? The simple search for Haranistas becomes a reliving of a forgotten past. Bautista doesn’t stay contented with what he found; he goes further by bringing his find to places due their talents, assuming a self appointed position of a champion, chronicling a beautiful part of history now gone extinct.