Why ‘Quezon’s Game’ will make Filipinos proud

  • Page Views 2197
  • Much has been told about the legacy of Manuel L. Quezon, but little awareness, it seems, has been brought to an “act of humanity” of the late former president, which today resonates through the distinguishing hospitality of Filipinos.

    That lesser-known fact unfolded in the 1930s, when millions of persecuted Jews sought to flee the Holocaust. Thousands of miles away from Europe, the Philippines was an unlikely refuge for the Jewish people — and yet it became one, through the resolve Quezon.

    “Quezon’s Game,” a film inspired by the president’s open-door policy to welcome the displaced Jews, chronicles the challenges and the triumph of that political — and moral — undertaking.
    Matthew Rosen, the Jewish filmmaker behind what he referred to as a “passion project,” had set out to share this chapter of the Philippines to the mainstream audience as early as 2009, when he first came across it.

    The England-born Rosen, who considers himself “Pinoy at heart” after years of being based here, said what transpired during Quezon’s time is a reflection of the Filipino people today, with its hospitality and “wonderful culture that allows this lack of bigotry and prejudice.”

    “This story really focuses on that — that in the time of war, when the rest of the world became apathetic and was drowning in the despair of war, the Filipino people shone a light on morality that led the rest of the world. And it was forgotten, and for me it was one of the most important stories of the war,” he told ABS-CBN News.

    Quezon, as shown in the film’s opening minutes, had wanted to open doors to 10,000 Jews whose survival depended on whether they could escape the Nazi regime.
    At the time, the Philippines had yet to reach independence from the United States, causing a number of obstacles for Quezon to realize his goal. Despite facing opposition, including from government leaders, he ultimately welcomed some 1,200 Jews to the country as their safe haven.

    “The Filipino people is intelligent — that’s a given — but I believe more in the Filipino heart. That is our winning factor,” screen veteran Raymond Bagatsing, who portrays Quezon in the film, told ABS-CBN News.

    “He’s an idealistic man who will go to the lengths — up to his death — to fight for something that is right and that is just,” Bagatsing said, referring to Quezon’s bout with tuberculosis around the same time he was maneuvering towards his mission concerning the Jews.

    Rachel Alejandro, who plays Quezon’s wife Aurora, recalled crying when she first read the script by Dean Rosen and Janice Perez. “When people are determined to do the right thing regardless of consequences, miracles can happen,” she said.

    ‘MORAL COURAGE’
    The “miracle” of Quezon’s game not only saved the lives of the Jews who found home in the Philippines, but also secured the future of their descendants which number around 8,000, according to a 2017 estimate of the Israel embassy.

    Quezon’s humanitarian gesture was honored in 2009 with the “Open Doors” monument in Israel, located at Rishon LeZion Memorial Park just off Tel Aviv.
    Israel also provides visa-free access to Filipino citizens — an arrangement borne of Quezon’s “moral courage,” as termed by the country’s embassy here.

    The late president’s legacy carries a message that remains timely, according to Rosen, who pointed out that “the elements of bigotry and segregation that we had to fight against in the second world war seem to be coming around again.”

    “After a period after the war where every man was equal and all borders were open — which was also led by Quezon — they’re beginning to close again.
    “This story could happen again, and I think it’s a good time to show this to remind people the horrors of what happened if you close your borders and if you don’t treat all men as equal,” he went on.
    Alejandro, whose character Aurora was instrumental in Quezon forging on despite odds, echoed Rosen’s statement: “It’s such a relevant thing to this day, because some countries are inward-looking now. It’s like, ‘Us first.’ There’s so much of that message going around, na parang, ‘Tayo muna, before helping others.’

    “Paano kung sa atin nangyari? Iyon naman ang turo ng Diyos, ‘di ba, to extend the same kindness that we would like to be extended to us. Iyon ‘yung ganda ng storya.”

    Aside from lessons to be re-learned, Rosen said he hopes Filipinos will gain a sense of pride from watching a “Quezon’s Game,” which is scheduled for a theatrical release on May 29.
    “What I really want for Filipinos after seeing this film is to be proud. That was really why I made it,” he said.

    “When humanity had gone, the Philippines really led the way, and they had to fight to lead the way. It’s an inspiration to the rest of the world, that a whole people can have this moral standing. That’s what I wanted to put across.” (M. Dumaual, abs-cbn)

    Share

    New Posts Recently publish post More

    • 22 September 2022
      3 days ago No comment

      Vhong Navarro under NBI custody for rape charge

      Metro Manila — TV host and actor Vhong Navarro remains under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) as of Tuesday, a day after he was slapped with two arrest warrants over complaints filed by model-stylist Deniece Cornejo in 2014. Navarro’s camp has yet to file a motion ...

    • 22 September 2022
      3 days ago No comment

      Meet and greet with Jinny, Ramon and Surrey Forward

      The Surrey Forward party is ready to serve the city and its residents. Surrey Forward is fielding Jinny Sims as mayoral candidate in the October 15, 2022 local election, and the party also has seven candidates for council. One of these candidates is Filipino Canadian financial professional Ramon Bandong. ...

    • Queen-Elizabeth-King-Charles-2022
      15 September 2022
      1 week ago No comment

      Farewell Queen Elizabeth, Long live King Charles!

      The world is mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth II, U.K.’s longest-serving monarch, who died on September 8 at the age of 96. Queen Elizabeth, whose reign spanned 70 years, was succeeded to the throne by her eldest son Charles, who has been proclaimed as King Charles III. The ...

    • 08 September 2022
      2 weeks ago No comment

      Filipino concert scene returns to Vancouver

      After a long hiatus because of COVID-19, the Filipino concert scene is revving up in Vancouver. A series of shows has been lined up starting in the month of September 2022, and ReyFort Media Group is calling on the community to support these events. The ReyFort Media Group wants ...

    • 01 September 2022
      3 weeks ago No comment

      Boni Barcia’s summer soiriee with B.C. NDP and Filipino community

      Boni Barcia hosted a summer party at his Coquitlam residence, which saw leading figures with the ruling B.C. NDP government rubbing elbows with members of the Filipino community. Among those in attendance at the August 28, 2022 bash was David Eby, presumed frontrunner in the race to become the ...

    %d bloggers like this: