How to Win at Checkers (Every Time)

Director: Josh Kim

Country: Thailand/USA/Indonesia

Language(s): Thai

Runtime: 80 min

Rating: PG

Festival year: 2015

How to Win at Checkers (Every Time)

Genre(s): Drama
Spotlight(s): OiS presents... Summer of Cinema!

Catapulting from the Berlinale to become the queer film on this year’s festival circuit, Josh Kim’s debut feature deftly navigates the complications of family and queer life in Thailand contrasted with the pressures of economic development, war and superstition. After the loss of their parents, 11-year old Oat is cared for by his elder brother Ek. While Oat learns the systems of power in his world through metaphors in the game of checkers, Ek’s relationship with his partner Jai becomes complicated when they are both entered into the military lottery. Inspired in part by Thailand’s complex stance on queer rights (the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1956 and the 2005 dissolution of the military ban on LGBTQ people), this familial love story is based on the short story collection Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap, bringing to life a striking portrait of the strategies we use and the concessions we make to survive.