The horrors of the Holocaust were not just confined to the European continent. Stories of the slaughter of the Jews spread the world over, but unlike the U.S., Canada and many other countries, the …
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The horrors of the Holocaust were not just confined to the European continent. Stories of the slaughter of the Jews spread the world over, but unlike the U.S., Canada and many other countries, the Philippines and its president, Manuel L. Quezon, worked hard to open its doors to Jewish refugees in need.
This lesser-known story is the subject of Matthew Rosen’s “Quezon’s Game,” which opens in Denver on Jan. 31. After winning 25 awards at international film festivals, the film’s release has been timed to coincide with 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
“Courage comes from within, and it’s contagious,” said David Bianco, who plays young U.S. Army Colonel Dwight D. Eisenhower. “In my opinion, film is the perfect medium to share this message, especially at times of uncertainty and injustice in the world.”
Raymond Bagatsing plays the Filipino president at the close of the 1930s, as his country worked to gain its independence from the United States. Quezon is approached by prominent Jewish businessman Alex Frieder (Billy Ray Gallion) with the horrifying news about what’s happening to Germany’s Jewish population.
Quezon worked with American diplomat Paul V. McNutt (James Paolelli) and Eisenhower to convince the U.S. to allow the refugees to move to the Philippines, in the end saving more than 1,200 people.
“The film is not just a time capsule of the late 1930s. History just keeps repeating, and both then and now, people don’t have compassion for other cultures,” Bianco said. “I hope this film inspires people to be courageous at their school, work and home.”
Playing a character as well-known as Eisenhower came with a tremendous amount of responsibility and pressure, but Bianco worked hard to get to the heart of a man who was a “consummate general and professional, charismatic and eager to serve his country and its people.”
A touching key piece of the film is the soundtrack, which features music by Karel Švenk and Z. Stryjecki — two composers who were imprisoned in WWII Nazi concentration camps.
Rosen — a British national who has lived in the Philippines since 1986 — and his Filipino wife, Lorena “Lori” Rosen, who co-produced the film, said not only is “Quezon’s Game” an important story to tell, but it’s a celebration of the Filipino people and its welcoming culture. The film also highlights the importance of love in inspiring people to be better than they are.
“I hope the people who see it are able to get the message that courage is something we have to dig deep within ourselves for, and reach out to people they normally wouldn’t,” Bianco said. “If it inspires just one person, we’ve been successful in our mission.”
For more information on the film and screenings, visit www.quezonsgame.com.
Get happy with Lakewood’s history
Just last year Lakewood celebrated its 50th birthday, and this spring the city is offering residents an adult way to learn more about the city with its History Happy Hour program. The first program, “50 Objects Online,” will take attendees on a trip to the past with activities, snacks, a cash bar with beer and wine, and a program featuring historic artifacts from Casa Bonita, the Broncos and more.
The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park (formerly the Lakewood Heritage Center), 801 S. Yarrow St.
Visit www.lakewood.org/Government/Departments/Community-Resources for more information.
Honor MLK with Colorado Symphony
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the most inspirational figures this county has ever produced, and every January it’s more than fitting that the country honors this remarkable man.
The Colorado Symphony is recognizing the visionary leader with a free concert at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14 at Boettcher Concert Hall, 1000 14th St., No. 15, in Denver.
Not only will the evening will feature special guest performances, but it will honor the recipients of the 2020 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Awards. Secure your spot for what is sure to be a powerful event at www.coloradosymphony.org.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week - Drive-By Truckers at the Fox and Gothic Theatres
Georgia’s Drive-By Truckers are one of the best alt-rock bands America has, and have been for most of this century. Their sound blends together everything from country and blues to folk and rock, all covered in Southern Gothic sensibilities.
The group’s last album was 2016’s “American Band,” one of their most heralded (and most political) albums.
On Jan. 31 they’ll be releasing the eagerly anticipated “The Unraveling,” and are taking to the road in support of the album.
The Truckers will be performing at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St. in Boulder, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16, and at Englewood’s Gothic Theatre, 3263 S. Broadway, at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 17 and Saturday, Jan. 18.
Get tickets for the Fox at www.foxtheatre.com and the Gothic at www.gothictheatre.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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