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Please vote for me! A secondary view.

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Please vote for me! A secondary view.

I watched the film Please Vote For Me, which is a documentary released in 2008 and was directed by Weijun Chen. The film is the story of a very heated class election for the office of classroom monitor in a third grade classroom in Wuhan, China. The film could fit very neatly into the curriculum of a high school government course. During the course of the film the class is trying to figure out what democracy looks like and feels like in practice and they engage in many of the same behaviors that our politicians engage in. There are three candidates for the office and the election pits these office seekers against one another in various settings including talent showcase, debate, and public speaking. Many deals are struck, political maneuvering takes place, and more than a few tears are shed as the candidates engage each other.

I think this film works because it shows some cultural differences between our societies but also it shows just how similar we all are. From the pushy parents to the children's chanting taunts, all of it seems eerily similar, especially since most Americans are sure they do not have that much in common with communist Chinese. At the same time the film shows the virtues of ordinary Chinese students and families who are trying to do their best for each other and their country. The film shows all kinds of political campaigning behavior, in rather cute and sometimes heart-breaking miniature. The audience gets to watch office seekers promise patronage jobs to supporters, buy votes with gifts to the electorate, pander to their audience while making public speeches, and a number of other behavior we discuss during my class. If I do not show the entire film I am confident I will show at least a portion during my unit on elections. I found the film on Youtube with great subtitles so it should be very easy to show.