Synopsis by Mark Deming
While China remains the largest Communist state in the world, the nation does have one sanctuary for free and open democracy -- grade schools, where class officers are chosen through elections just as they are in the United States. Filmmaker Weijun Chen offers a witty and telling look at a political campaign in one Chinese elementary school in the documentary Please Vote for Me. Evergreen Primary School is located in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and the third-grade class is being asked to choose between three candidates for the position of Class Monitor, who will help the teacher maintain order in the classroom and keep an eye on his or her fellow students. The children -- two boys and a girl -- who are running for office take this election very seriously, and use all manner of schemes to win votes, from lobbying among their friends to heckling the speeches of the other candidates. In newly prosperous Wuhan, many of the students at Evergreen Primary are only children, and their parents take no small amount of interest in their youngsters' precocious interest in the political system, using their own means to sway votes toward their offspring. Please Vote for Me received its North American premiere at the 2007 SilverDocs Film Festival, a festival for documentary cinema sponsored in part by the American Film Institute.