A great movie that represents heroism, resiliency and an in-depth value in human life of the Filipino people as embodied by the late President Manuel L. Quezon. An eye-opener and a catalyst that would spark one’s great love for country and human rights.
In 1938, Quezon along with the notable figures like Alex Frieder, Paul V. Mcnutt and future U.S president Dwight Eisenhower set out to rescue Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. These fantastic four of this historical event, played their game of poker in a real life situation.
If you’re a Filipino or Jewish, watching the film will surely strike right into the feels. You cannot help but to shed tears with each passing scene that shows oppression, slavery and lack of equality. The Philippines in account of history during this period was still under U.S occupation as a commonwealth and our independence was still being paved. Although we had established our own government, major decisions like allowing immigrants were still subjected for votes of the U.S congress. And even still we were partly U.S to say, we were not being treated as equal in our own soil and the soil of our western ally. On the other hand, the Jews was on the brink of annihilation. They were being obliterated, tortured, oppressed and cast out of their homes by the German Nazis. They don’t have their own land and so had been scattered all over Europe, America and Asia. What’s more saddening was how every country closed their borders for these people and took a blind eye of what was happening. A totally frightening moral collapse of a self-entitled enlightened nations. Filipinos and Jews were similarly recipients of bigotry of U.S and Nazis which built our strong sense of brotherhood and an urge to help.
This were all the perils of the film focused on. How an oppressed, dependent nation like Philippines, will stand upon the great nations of the world and let them heed its cry for basic human rights and freedom?
When Mcnutt’s request for additional visa grant was denied by the U.S congress – which means that we cannot allow any more immigrants, Quezon made a significant decision. He called a conference to tell the nation of the situation we were facing and the lack of U.S support for basic human rights. The president had so much faith that the Filipino people will not disappoint him. And so, the rage of the people. Filipinos, gathered to rally for a great cause. The true people power that happened to call for humans’ right and freedom.
I applauded the way President Quezon delivered his stirring speech during this time, it had so much power and encouragement to always do the right thing as a nation. That in times of need and the call for help arises, we need to take a stand. No wonder he was known for his humanitarian platforms during his term. It’s just sad that he was not able to see the independent Philippines as he passed away due to tuberculosis before it was consummated.
The film uses three major languages — Spanish, English and Filipino. This significantly showcases the rich history and culture of the Philippines. Also, the portrayal of Raymond Bagatsing as Manuel Quezon must highly be praised with his gesture and tone and accent.
The cinematography and settings was Spanish distinguished which is cool. Right enough to tell that we’ve been colonized from 1521 to 1898 (It’s good to know a bit of history). See, we’re even more Spanish than Mexicans.
So, the film received 23 international awards, it’s a no question. If there’s anything that I realized about this film, Filipinos were great people and a great nation even before. Even though we have lot of troubles like excise tax, poverty and the world is on the brink of war and all, we still shared our kindness to a dying nation. Our greatness does not come from our economy nor establishments made, but by our kindness and moral conviction that will be remembered until the world is no more. A deed that will surely surpasses time. Let’s be grateful to our late President Manuel L. Quezon and the Filipino people of the bygone era that we have something to be proud of as a Filipino.
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