News Column

Bay Area repertory film picks, Aug. 8-11

August 8, 2013


Aug. 08--"Harana": Practically an unstoppable phenomenon since winning the Audience Award at San Francisco's CAAMfest, local filmmaker Benito Bautista's film has played to crowds around the world, including the Philippines, where it was shot, and now it's back for a weekend at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts with nine screenings over the next four days, beginning Thursday. It's a documentary on the Filipino lost art of serenading, called harana. Up until World War II, men often wooed a potential mate by strumming a guitar under her window, singing traditional love songs. San Francisco musician Florante Aguilar became fascinated with the music and returns to his native land to find aging harana singers. He unearths a lost culture, buried in an era where wooing is done by texting and Facebook. Bautista's film is beautifully shot (by S.F. cinematographer Peggy Peralta) and tenderly realized. Wow, those harana guys still got it. Through Sunday at the YBCA, 701 Mission St., S.F., (415) 978-2700.

"Metropolis" and "M": Few directors make films that changed cinema forever; Fritz Lang made two. Here they are in a dark-shadowed Sunday double feature -- the restored version (150 minutes; almost like a brand-new movie) of "Metropolis" (3:15, 8:05 p.m.), one of the greatest science fiction films ever made (top five for sure), and, in "M" (1, 6 p.m.), one of the greatest serial killer movies ever made, thanks in equal part to a haunting Peter Lorre performance. It won't make you feel good about the direction of humanity, but it will about the power of cinema. Sunday at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., S.F. (415) 621-6120.

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival: The festival winds up in Oakland, San Rafael and Palo Alto, including a nice weekend at Oakland's majestic Grand Lake Theater, highlighted by an "Annie" Sing-a-Long (11 a.m. Saturday), and Bill Siegel's documentary "The Trials of Muhammad Ali" (4:35 p.m. Sunday; also 6 p.m. Saturday at the Smith Rafael Film Center).


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