HARANA Documentary Film
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"Harana (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."

" ... Best of all, though, is the music, honest and open-hearted, the kind that leaves behind the glow of romance."

Jay Weissberg, Variety Magazine
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"This is one of the best films of the festival. HARANA is beautifully shot and tenderly realized, with great music. In effect, Aguilar and his new friends serenade us. Sit back and relax."

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"Love, music, and the Philippines star in this sonically gorgeous doc about the nearly extinct tradition of harana, as Filipino-American guitarist Florante Aguilar goes back to his homeland to research and revive the forgotten Filipino practice of publicly serenading prospective lovers outside their windows under the cover of darkness with guitar music and a unique type of baritone singing."


"The power of this film is its ability to bring together an audience from many generations, who came together for entertainment, inspiration, and nostalgia."

Mia de Guzman, Inquirer.net, U.S. Bureau
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"Harana" captures a little-known musical style that reveals the soul of a complex and multifaceted country—one that innocently encapsulates the nostalgia of a time when harana—not texting—was the way to woo someone in a simple, yet, intensely meaningful way."

Annabelle Udo Omalley, AsianWeek
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Harana Stuns Cinemalaya

"The film documents Florante Aguilar, a Fil-Am classically trained guitarist, and his journey home to the Philippines to find surviving harana singers and players. It's a wonderful documentary, both intellectually stimulating and heartwarming. At times the beauty of the music is emotionally overwhelming."

Joel Shepard, Film/Video Curator at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco   Read more »

"The real heart of this documentary lies in the three haranistas' camaraderie as the last bastions of their serenades. They know that their art is becoming irrelevant thanks to the onslaught of modernity. They point to inventions such as the videoke machine and the cellphone as the primary elements that sapped the passion from today's youths. Interestingly, they don't say this with any hostility. They've accepted it as the way things are, that people and communities just inherently change over time."

Vincenzo Tagle, WeTalkAboutMovies.com   Read more »

"Aguilar, motivated by a diaspora-charged obsession to preserve his native culture, decides to go back to the Philippines from the comforts of the United States to look for the last true remaining practitioners of the harana. Aguilar would at times play timeless melodies with his guitar to unlikely crowds in unlikely places, gaining further motivation for his search and hope that there remains an audience for whatever he is trying to find based on the resounding reactions he would garner from the most unadorned and unsophisticated of audiences. "

Oggs Cruz, twitch.com   Read more »


Interview of Director Benito Bautista
(Vincenzo Tagle, wetalkaboutmovies.com 7/24/12)

Love Songs for No Juan
(PhilStar 8/18/12)

Stories and Songs -- The Animals, with a Note on Harana
(GMA Network 7/29/12)

Indie films we'd like to see in regular theaters
(Philippine Daily Inquirer 7/29/2012)

Indie Docu Immortalizes Pinoy Love Songs
(Philippine Daily Inquirer 7/25/2012)