This beautiful drama is the Thai entry for Best Foreign Language Film in the 88th Academy Awards, and is straight from the Berlin International Film Festival. How to Win at Checkers (Every Time), the first feature length film by Josh Kim (Draft Day, MGFF 2014), explores issues of identity, corruption, and the ties of family, with subtlety and quiet poignancy.
As 11-year-old Oat worries about losing his openly gay brother Ek to the army draft, his future seems uncertain. When his brother refuses to listen, Oat takes matters into his own hands with help from Ek’s boyfriend, the upper class Jai.
Ingkarat Damrongsakkul is endearing and believable as the wide-eyed, inquisitive Oat. Thira Chutikul and Arthur Navarat are touching as young boyfriends Ek and Jai, brushing the surface of a question of love and class.
How to Win at Checkers (Every Time) explores gay identity in Thailand, where homosexuality was decriminalised in 1956 and LGBTIQ people are generally accepted. It also delves into issues of institutional corruption in Thailand, and the politics of war. However, most important and striking, is the authentic portrayal of Oat’s growing awareness of the world, sexuality, and himself.
"How To Win At Checkers (Every Time) signals the arrival of a talented and observant artist making killer moves in coaxing the best out of his material and his actors." - Hollywood Reporter
"Kim makes it all look so effortless and natural, and his film's bittersweet climax will stay with you." - San Francisco Chronicle
Directed by Alejandro Monreal Landete
Spain; Spanish with English subtitles
Two friends return home from a night out at a costume party dressed as the Tin Man and Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz.
Presented with ACON Asian Gay Men’s Project