8.19.2008

out on dvd: please vote for me


Please Vote For Me, directed by Weijun Chen, is a fascinating look at democracy in action in China, starting at the most basic level of politics—an elementary school classroom. The film examines what happens when, first time ever, the third grade students at Evergreen Primary School in Wuhan, China are asked to elect a class monitor.

It's an intriguing premise that offers a really interesting chance to tackle a variety of issues, from China's One-Child policy to the very basic notions of how democracy works. What will these children do when provided with the opportunity to vote? How will the candidates behave towards each other and their peers? Will they resort to underhanded tactics to get elected?

It gets ugly pretty fast. Coached by pushy, overeager parents, the pressure of running for office begins its take its toll. At school, the candidates—Luo Lei (the current class monitor) Cheng Cheng and Xu Xiaofei—talk to classmates one-on-one, making promises, planning tactics (including negative ones) and at times expressing doubts about their own candidacies.

There are tears, angry outbursts, backstabbing and dirty tricks. Just like any political campaign. Except these are kids in the third grade. The film is an intimate, captivating and entertaining portrait of kids being kids, but also providing a short glimpse of the future of democracy. I highly recommend checking it out. Learn more about the film here. It's out on DVD this week.