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Wuhan is a city in China the size of London where an experiment in democracy is conducted. At Evergreen Primary School, a grade 3 class learns what democracy is when an election for class monitor is being held. Three children are chosen by the teacher as candidates and they have a few days to campaign and convince their classmates to vote for them. The little candidates are seen at school and at home, where their parents do their best to make sure their child will win the election.Written by
Marco van Hoof <email@example.com>
While "Please Vote for Me" has an interesting subject and an interesting way to look at it, being a part of the "Why Democracy?" series, it fails to make a point about democracy, while only seeming to.
First of all, while not wanting to sound political and unlike the common opinion, I don't think what happens in the film has anything to do with China. These children are third-graders and even if they have their own personalities, in a class monitor election with a campaign, they are basically dependent on their parents. Yes, Cheng Cheng wants to have authority and the Luo Lei beats other kids up but after all, they are children for god's sake! The majority of the behavior that they display in this film is typical of a third grader, regardless of how communist or capitalist a country he or she may live in. I must say there are times when the documentary seems artificial, as in one candidate plans to sabotage another's act in the talent show. It is very unlikely that a kid at this age would reveal such a plan to a friend in front of the camera; these are not kids that are too stupid to tell right from wrong. This age is a time when guilt plays an important role in the child's life.
The only sound comment the film makes about democracy is the view of the parents. Rather than seeing this election as an opportunity for their child to learn about democracy, self-confidence, winning and losing, most of them take it as a chance for their kid (and perhaps themselves) to show others that s/he is better than everyone else, with whatever means necessary. For example, Cheng Cheng has a mother who belittles him, pushes him constantly and doesn't seem to appreciate him at all and this may account for his desire to have his classmates under control, because his self-confidence is always undermined at home. The film does a better job of analyzing the behavior of the parents than making a point about democracy or democracy in China, for that matter. The scenes showing the school children chanting and exercising in disturbing unity didn't add much to it, either because the election process did not seem to be related with what was happening outside and if it were, the film made no effort to mention how.
I wouldn't want to discourage anybody from seeing this film, but I think it is a disappointing film which fails to deliver what it seems to be promising.
4 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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