After the loss of both parents, 11 years old Oat faces an uncertain future when his older brother must submit to Thailand's annual military draft lottery. Unable to convince his brother to ...
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After the loss of both parents, 11 years old Oat faces an uncertain future when his older brother must submit to Thailand's annual military draft lottery. Unable to convince his brother to do whatever he can to change his fate, Oat takes matters into his own hands resulting in unexpected consequences. Based on the stories from the bestselling book Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap, the film is set in the economic fringes of Bangkok and examines the joys and challenges of growing up in contemporary Thailand. HOW TO WIN AT CHECKERS (EVERY TIME) is director Josh Kim's debut feature film.Written by
I watched this movie at Kashish, Mumbai's annual queer film festival, and loved it. A lot of people afterwards said the movie wasn't "really gay," but what they meant was the movie didn't make being gay a big issue. The story is told from the view of a boy so it's got an innocent charm. Ten year old Oat's older brother Ek is gay and has a boyfriend from his school days, and he thinks it's perfectly natural. He's more worried about Ek being drafted into the army, which, in Thailand is through a lottery system. Ek's boyfriend Jai managed to dodge the draft, with his family paying a bribe. In a hilarious scene, little Oat tries to get money to pay a bribe by robbing from the local drug lord -- and then presenting the money back to him as the bribe. The movie is populated with many interesting characters and it shows Thai life from a different perspective. Oat and Ek live with their aunt, a superstitious old lady who frees a fish from their aquarium into a nearby pond, for good Karma. Then there's that wonderful scene where Ek takes Oat out for a cheese burger on his birthday. Oat has seen ads for cheeseburgers on TV but he's never had one. But when he takes his first bite, the cheese tastes so disgusting he throws up! I can imagine this happening in any Asian country, including India and it's so symbolic of East meets West with disastrous results. The name of the movie comes from the game of checkers the two brothers play and how Oat buys himself a book of the same title and finally beats Ek, who then takes him out with him for a night on the town. What follows gives an unexpected twist to this hugely engaging and entertaining movie.
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