Thai-American writer Rattawut Lapcharoensap’s 2005 collection of seven short stories, “Sightseeing,” is the backbone for Korean-American writer/director Josh Kim’s award-winning film, How To Win at Checkers (Every Time).
Wolfe announced this past week that Feb. 2 will be the DVD release date for this Thai-language import.
Told from the adult POV of the central character with a quick early prologue, we shift to an eleven-year-old named Oat (Ingkarat Damrongsakkul), where we learn that three things about his older brother, Ek (Thira Chutikul) — he’s the sole support for his brother (they are orphans who live with their aunt), his turn for the Thai Army lottery is drawing near and he’s gay. Army life is clearly not for him.
For the wealthy none of these are an issue. Being gay in Thailand is not quite the same as other Asian countries and those with resources can easily buy their way out of the annual game of “chance.” Ek’s friend, Jai (Arthur Navarat) is from a family of means and has done just that. Corruption is acceptable — drawing a black ticket, as opposed to a red ticket, or not having to draw any ticket at all can be arranged.
For Oat, who loves, accepts and understands his older brother without exception, he has learned from living on the fringes of Thai society that there are winners and losers … and he sees his life as being that of a winner, no matter what it takes.
His attempts at “working the system” only put his brother in greater peril, but it is a learning process that will color a “career” path for Oat as he moves from child to an adult. The irony is, without giving too much away, that his efforts are over taken by events beyond his control.
Bonus features include Josh Kim’s short film, “Draft Day.”