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Film Review, 4 December 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Film Review: Please Vote for Me

The film "Please Vote for Me," directed by Chen Weijun, takes place in Wuhan, China's Evergreen Primary School, 3rd grade class. An experiment about democracy has been conducted. The children of the third grade class are to vote for their Class Monitor. The purpose of this experiment is to see the effects of democracy in China and how it would be received if it were introduced. Within the past 10 years, the world has depended on China's economy. This film delves into the values and ideals of modern China and demonstrates its gradual political change.

Throughout the film, the main focus has been on the candidates. Each candidate gained different experiences on their journey through the election. Parental influence was something that had a great effect on the outcome of the election. Cheng Cheng and Luo Lei both had plenty of help from their parents when it came to speeches and gaining favor from their classmates. Xiaofei, however, had no direct influence from her mother. The parents seemed to do everything they could to help their child succeed. Whether there is a great parental influence or not, the candidates easily found their own clever tactics. With the help of their assistants, the candidates found ways to manipulate their classmates, as well as their competitors. This both helped them and hurt them. In the end, Luo Lei came out with a massive win.

The approach to the making of this film is mostly 'fly on the wall.' After experiment is initiated, the rest is left untouched. This is an important aspect of the film because, without direct interference, it allows the children in the class and other subjects of the film to live the experiment as accurately as it would be without the presence of the camera. The editing was very simple. It showed important points toward the progression of the election. It was very easy to follow and was very smoothly put together. The cinematography was very straightforward. Without the interference of additional music, the viewer is able to form his own thoughts and opinions toward the situation, instead of being given a feeling or an emotion that is evoked by the intrusion of the director. The only interviews in the film were scarce and brief as a few children were asked "who will you vote for?" Other than that, the director stepped back and simply watched as his film took place.

Overall, this film completes its objective. It arouses thoughts and questions about democracy in China. It shows Chinese values and culture in modern China. The growth and political change in China, though gradual, is an active and moving force. All of the children of Evergreen Primary School's third grade class learned new life lessons through this experiment. The candidates were taught to be strong and persistent and to never give up while trying to accomplish their goals. The class and everyone involved received democracy very willingly and valued their right to vote for their Class Monitor.