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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2009
Director Weijun Chen did a great job in this documentary. The film was about the democracy experiment in a third grade class of one primary school in WuHan, China. I don't know the reasons for Chen to pick WuHan for this documentary. I was told by Chinese friends, WuHan is a relatively conservative city comparing to Bejing or Shanghai. This documentary has quite a few interesting aspects. First, the film truly recorded this democracy experiment did not educate kids about the value of democracy, but was about the process to win the voting. Second, the kids' voting soon became parent's battle. I was amazed to see those tricks that parents taught to their kids. For example, one kid's mother told her kid to boo his competitors after their speeches. Third, debate became personal attacks. I was shocked to see class teacher let these personal attacks go on as normal. The scene seemed like a mini version of culture revolution happened to those kids. At last, bribe. One kids' father is supervisor of police department. He treated the entire class for a city trip. He also prepared gifts for the entire class just before the voting. The film helped me understand today's China better. And, the film was also very entertaining.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2009
PLEASE VOTE FOR ME is a short but compelling documentary that looks at a "first-of-its-kind" democratic election at the Evergreen Primary School in Wuhan, China. The class of eight-year old pupils is given the opportunity to vote for one of three teacher-chosen candidates. Two boys and one girl are selected, including current class monitor Luo Lei ("the dictator"), the confident Cheng Cheng ("the manager") and the shy Xu Xiafei ("the gentle one"). There are debates, speeches, even a talent show to help the voters decide. Along the way, there are smear campaigns and backroom dealings galore. The children's parents get heavily involved and we see that Luo and Cheng have some built-in advantages. Cheng's mom is a TV producer who seems well equipped to help her son with his stump speeches. Luo's dad is the police chief who can finagle free class trips on the town's state-of-the-art monorail to benefit his candidate. Meanwhile, Xu is frequently reduced to tears and has only her divorced mom to guide her. Despite mom's sound advice, Xu seems to be a longshot candidate (unless, of course, she can corner the female vote). All of the parents become speechwriters and campaign advisers for their kids. And each of the candidates has two "assistants" he or she can use to take the pulse of the electorate. At the center of it all, the class teacher is a beaming and beatific presence who seems delighted to be given the chance to bring this experiment in democracy into her classroom. Come election day, two candidates, their assistants and their most fervent supporters will, of course, be disappointed. But that's democracy. If you have an hour to spare, you'll be investing it well with PLEASE VOTE FOR ME. You'll be surprised to see how quickly three 8-year-old Communists can learn all the tricks and chicanery we are used to seeing play out within America's supposedly sophisticated political system.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2009
I came across this film on netflix and watched it on my computer for the first time. I lived in China teaching English for a year so the film caught my attention. I was absolutely captivated. It's an interesting insight into Chinese education. But also, we see the result of the one child policy - a nation of "little emperors." I had to have this film to share with my students here in America. I only wish it were longer than an hour.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon July 29, 2008
Politics isn't that different for Chinese as it is for Americans - at least in Grade 3

Talk about timing! 2008 is the Olympics in China and the Presidential election in the US. Combining both the fascination with Chinese culture, especially how it is moving into more democracy and western culture, with the concept of a "last man wins" election, Chinese Director Weijun Chen has created a real "nail biter". Which of the three candidates will win in their run for office? Who will bribe the most voters? And who will cheat? Oh, and let's not forget: Who will cry when they are called names.

Yes, this is the story of a real election, but it's not a Presidential one. This is the first free election in Wuhan province and it is for ....... the class monitor of the third grade class at Wuhan Elementary School. With two boys and one girl - chosen by their teacher as candidates - Chen captures the events in real time. We she the parents (or "parent" in the case of the single-parent child) guiding them. But it's interesting to see the tactics that the candidates develop for themselves.

The film is a short 58 minutes and there are no extras (except for the "Trailer" which is nothing more than a compilation of scenes from the film). It's in Mandarin with easy to read English subtitles.

Personally, I'd like to know the "backstory" of this film and how Chen chose to make it but, on its own, this short film will definitely hold your attention and show you that, though we think we're different from other cultures, when it comes to politics we're not that much different, some candidates are just older!

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon January 23, 2012
The vocabulary, enthusiasm, politicking (including dirty tricks), and focus of all the students in this third-grade class, from the three nine/ten-year old Class Monitor candidates to all the non-candidates, was incredible. Each candidate participated in a talent show and a debate, as well as giving a prepared speech (mostly without notes). The action took place in 2007 Wuhan (about 420 miles West of Shanghai), the most populous city (about 10 million) in Central China. The film covers what was supposedly the first election of its type in a Chinese school. (Traditionally the Class Monitor was appointed by the teacher.)

If these children are anywhere near typical, American education is in worse shape than we think! The film also evidenced very strong parental involvement, as well as the large class size (about 40 pupils).
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on May 15, 2013
I found this film disturbing, because it illustrates starkly how foreign a concept democracy has become to the chinese. This film follows an election campaign for class monitors/prefects in a chinese primary school, and there is a scene where the teacher struggles to explain what a democracy is, and the children at first struggle to understand the concept of voting for their leaders. Once they get into their stride however, the insults and backstabbing really take off amongst the candidates! So, much like any british general election! This is a very inciteful documentary into the difficulties the chinese may face in moving towards a democratic future, but there are moments of sheer joy for the viewer.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2009
If vitriolic politics, personal cunning, and social hostility were made any more entertaining, this film would be the 'feelgood comedy of the decade.' As is, it is a beautiful view of human nature at work in the democratic process in China. Most amazing is how 9-year-old school children in China seem to have written Carl Rove's, Barak Obama's, Sara Palin's, and George Bush's political playbooks. A great film that is as informative as it is enjoyable.
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on December 12, 2013
The funny thing about China lately is how many decisions are governed by a voting process. This movie is short, interesting, has excellent characters, and shows this process thriving right at the interface with government. I notice that all the Chinese reality singing shows are featuring voting too. Hopefully it is legitimate. They press a button on their voting tablet and results appear. Who knows what happens between the source and the destination. Nevertheless, this is a healthy development.
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on February 11, 2013
I use this movie for my AP Comparative government class. The kids love it. It starts with a 3rd grade girl being asked what it is to vote. She says "Vote?" the exchange is hilarious. What a great movie, watch it you'll enjoy it. I still wonder what has happened to those kids.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Please Vote for Me (Sub) is both a fascinating look at modern China, and politics more broadly. The documentary focuses on an election for class monitor in a small school in Wuhan, China. From a sociological perspective, it's quite jarring to see Chinese talking about elections and campaigns. The three students campaigning know how to sling mud like the worst American politicians. Moreover, behind each child candidate lies an ambitious parent ("Tiger moms" if you will) who coaches their sons and daughters in how to attack opponents. At times, the political factionalism resembles the most intense parts of Lord of the Flies. As a documentary, Please Vote for Me (Sub) captures this perfectly, long enough to allow us to get to know the characters, but it never drags or feels slow. Overall, a remarkable film for anybody interested in China or child behavior.
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