Review: ‘Quezon’s Game’ by first time director Matthew Rosen not a Filipino Schindler’s List.
By: Kia Ambrose Brown
‘Quezon’s Game’ is premiere is coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. ‘Quezon’s Game’ is a dramatized version of true events that took place in the Philippines before the outbreak of World War II. Set in 1938 the film recounts how the former president of the Philippines Manuel L. Quezon (Raymond Bagatsting) saved 1,300 Jews from the Nazis (The Jerusalem Post). Quezon was a former statesman, soldier, and politician who was appointed the president of the Philippines and his plan was to protect and shelter both German and Austrian Jews in the Phillippines who were trying to escape from Nazi Germany. Throughout the film, you’re rooting for Manuel as he is determined to save as many Jews as he can no matter what it takes.
‘Quezon’s Game’ is not as evocative as ‘The boy in striped pyjamas’ or ‘Schindler’s List’, however, it sheds light on a little known story of a historic character that deserves to be celebrated as a hero. Only last year, the Philippines Embassy opened the Quezon Center, a museum showing Quezon’s efforts to save German and Austrian Jews.
The film was directed by Matthew Rosen and written by Janice Y. Perez and Dean Rosen. In an interview during the ABS-CBN VIP screening director, Matthew Rosen expressed the empathy Filipinos have in the film stating “This movie isn’t really about politics at all. In fact, this movie isn’t really about the life of Quezon. What this movie to me is really about is that culture that we as Filipinos have in this time where we shone a light of humanity when the rest of the world was drowning in the pity of their war.” This was clearly shown as the film was coming to an end creating an emotional impact on the audience as it was based on a true story. Also as there were a diverse cast and crew involved giving an authentic air to the film.
Overall, the film manages to lift from obscurity a little known historical event. On the other hand, the story could have been better told, and the performances more engaging. Furthermore, I felt I wanted to know more of Quezon’s background to get a better idea of him as a person, it was hard to get as emotionally involved as this important subject matter deserves. To summarise, this is a film that shines a light on Quezon who is mostly unknown in the West that deserves to be remembered for his courage and strength in a dark historical moment.
Quezon’s Game will be in UK Cinemas nationwide from 31st January. Tickets can be bought at www.quezonsgame.com