If you think Chinese children can’t get any more obnoxious, go watch Please Vote for Me (via YouTube in five parts – p1, p2, p3, p4 and p5), an award-winning indie documentary and pay special attention to Cheng Cheng, the pudgy kid who is one of the three students running for the position of class monitor. He then gets increasingly irksome as he sabotages fellow elects and manipulates his classmates for votes.
Through Please Vote for Me, director Weijun Chen has alluded to the dreaded D-word (not Depression) in China with a clever social experiment involving a class of eight-year olds in Wuhan by documenting their first contact with democracy — electing a class monitor. Witness the invisible hand of parents at work as they influence the children’s campaigns and pass on their own perceptions of how elections should be run and how the guanxi game should be played.
The 58-minute production is part of Why Democracy?, a Cape Town-based documentary project’s series of 10 films aimed at exploring the multifaceted aspects of democracy today. Good news is, snippets (of 9 documentaries and 6 short films) along with information on documentaries by various independent filmmakers centered on the democracy theme can be viewed online. Plus two other films can be watched in their entirety here and here. Now if you would excuse us, you know what this Shanghaiist may likely be up to the next few days with a mug of hot chocolate in hand than brave the slush and bitter chill.