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31. Quezon's Game; movie review

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Title : 31. Quezon's Game; movie review
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Cert TBA
125 mins
BBFC advice: TBA

If I had to pick one reason why I still love the everyfilm quest as it enters its tenth year, it would be because it expands my general knowledge and, consequently, my mind.
I have been a student of the Holocaust and Nazi Germany since seeing the remnants of the concentration camp in Dachau 35 years ago.
Since then, I have experienced very sober days at Auschwitz Birkenau and Yad Vashem in Jerusalem as well as many other memorials and museums.
In addition, I have read much and sat through many films on the subject - often aghast at the barbarity which human has inflicted upon fellow human.
However, I did not know anything about the humanitarian work of wartime Philippine President Manuel Quezon in saving Jewish people nor the way in which the United States turned its back on them before the Second World War.
Matthew Rosen's movie is set in Manila where cigar-maker Alex Frieder (Billy Ray Gallion) is in turmoil over the fate of his fellow Jews in Europe.
He tells the stories of Kristallnacht and the death camps to his friend, the president (Raymond Bagatsing), who is equally horrified.
They then hear about boats of refugees being turned away from countries such as the United States and Quezon is moved to take action.
The complication is that, at this time, The Philippines is part of the American Commonwealth and needs its permission to issue visas.
Quezon's Game's is a low budget movie and is, therefore, restricted in terms of its cast, backdrop, costumes etc.
So, much of it comprises of tactical conversations between the president and his American allies stationed in the Philippines - Dwight Eisenhower (David Bianco), Paul McNutt (James Paoleli) and Frieder.
Meanwhile, his wife (Kate Alejandrino) is frustrated by him working tirelessly despite a life-threatening illness.
It astonished me that the United States-based authorities stood against him and that they weren't alone in snubbing the Jews.
Indeed, Quezon, despite pressure at home not to take the refugees, was one of the few who saw them as human beings.
The mental chess game he has to play to enable him to save at least some has to be cunning and clever - and is reflected well by Rosen, given the constraints of a $500,000 budget.
Indeed, it says much for his direction that I was not only agog at the obstacles put in the president's path but also on tenterhooks at the outcome of his campaign.

Reasons to watch: A surprising and enthralling true story
Reasons to avoid: Too simplistic at times

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 7/10

Did you know? When the Japanese forces occupied Manila in 1942, Manuel Quezon and his cabinet fled from the Philippines and set up an exile government in Washington in May 1942. Quezon died on Aug. 1, 1944, a year before the liberation of the Philippines.

The final word. Matthew Rosen: "Quezon’s Game highlights the extreme lengths man will go to for the good of others. I hope after leaving the cinema, after watching Quezon’s Game, we all feel proud to be human." Picture This Post

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