PLEASE VOTE FOR ME captures many elements of life in China today missed by all the magazine cover stories and astounding growth statistics. This story unfolds far from the giant factories, crowded markets, or even picturesque villages. These classrooms are state-of-the-art and the children’s homes look remarkably like middle class urban homes in the West. The film provides a private view of a microcosm of contemporary Chinese culture.
It is also a classic election drama, albeit with 7-year-olds. The three candidates, two boys and a girl, are chosen by the teachers, but they conduct real campaigns and are chosen in a free election. Ironically their goal is to become the student charged with maintaining order and reporting rule violations to the teachers. Director Weijun Chen travels home with the candidates, each a product of the one-child policy, where over-eager parents coach and cajole their child. They even participate in a little preelection gift-giving in an effort to manipulate the race so their kid will win! Systems of government may differ broadly, but human nature not so much.