Verdict: Essential Viewing

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 4.50 (9 ratings)

Genre: Documentary

Director: Benito Bautista

Writers: Benito Bautista and Florante Aguilar

Synopsis:  Upon his father’s death, Florante Aguilar, a classically trained musician returns to the Philippines after 12 years of absence. During his stay he rediscovers the music of harana – a long-forgotten tradition of Filipino serenading when men sang under the window at night to fearlessly declare their love for a woman.

Intent on unearthing these unheralded songs, Florante travels to the remote provinces where he discovers three of the last surviving practitioners – a farmer, a fisherman and a tricycle driver. Astounded by their golden voices, Florante asks them to travel with him to perform and record these unknown songs. During their travels, the haranistas meet Brian, a shy young man who for years has been secretly in love with a schoolmate. Theharanistas, who have not serenaded in the last 30 years, offered their services to serenade Brian’s object of affection, resulting in one of the most tender moments of genuine harana captured on film.

Word soon spread around Manila of leathery faced men whose style of untrained but sincere and expressive singing touch the hearts everywhere they performed, culminating in a series of triumphant live performances – from the small village to prestigious concert halls to recording the first authentic harana album in the last 50 years. But the question remains – can harana be restored to its former glory or is it doomed to vanish silently into the night forever?

Trailer: 

Reviews:

5.0      Don Jaucian (Philippine Star)

Harana is the type of film that should be screened in every home in the country.” (Read full review)

5.0      Lyndon Maburaot (Table Stretcher)

“Who says that the Festival Pass 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.”

5.0      Carl Joseph Papa (Whatever, Carl)

“The movie constantly gave me goosebumps, in awe of the guitar players and the serenaders.” (Read full review)

5.0      Manuel Pangaruy (Taga-ilog Special)

“The film reminds me about what a documentary should primary fulfill: to document. On the outer layer, it’s about archiving the lost Kundimans through some haranistas gathered from Cavite and Ilocos. With that, audience is then hit on lack of sense of history as some harana pieces are no longer accounted and credited for. Along the way, the documentary shifts to another tune. It becomes a tale of mucisians on the road trying to accomplish a lot of things including helping out a guy court a girl and educating the young ones with what’s lost and found again. For the road trip part alone, some raw emotions are captured which highlighted the whole film viewing experience.”

5.0      Nico Quejano (Cinephiles)

“It is an amazing documentary! Instead of crying for the lost art of Harana and dwelling on the problem, it became a very hopeful and thoughtful tribute. A true homage.”

4.0      Oggs Cruz (Twitch)

“The best parts of the documentary are when ageless serenades are allowed to drown cinematic and narrative conceits, when it graduates from the search and the struggle and becomes an unabashedly hopeful celebration of music.” (Read full review)

4.0      Vincenzo Tagle (We Talk About Movies)

Harana sheds some light on forgotten works of art and exposes the beauty hidden in these disappearing songs.” (Read full review)

4.0       Skilty Labastilla (Young Critics Circle)

“As much a paean to original folk music as it is a longing for a more romantic era in Filipino culture.” (Read full review)

3.5        Nel Costales (1505 Film Avenue)

“Every musical performance by the Harana Kings is pure delight. There’s a sincere feel to their direct, romantic declarations of love.” (Read full review)