Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

October 11, 2012

Documentary provides witty insight on human nature, politics

Movie tonight, Oct. 11, part of Boomerventure Screening Room


The Andover Townsman

---- — The candidates indulge in low blows and spin, character assassination and gestures of goodwill. No, this is not our nation’s current election campaign, but a third-grade class election for the position of class monitor at an elementary school in Wuhan, the most populous city in central China.

The scenes are part of the award-winning documentary, “Please Vote for Me,” which will be shown for free tonight, Thursday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m.as part of the BoomerVenture Screening Room.

“Please Vote for Me” and other movies are typically shown at 7 p.m. at the Andover Senior Center, 30 Whittier Court. Optional discussions follow the movies.

“Please Vote for Me” was made in 2007, and A.O. Scott of the New York Times has written that the documentary that offers a “fascinating glance at the complexities of modern Chinese society.”

The movie captures the debates, speeches, even a talent show that was held to help the “voters” decide. Along the way, there are smear campaigns and backroom dealings galore. The children’s parents get heavily involved and use their positions to influence the results. Filmmaker Weijun Chen “has crafted a witty, engaging macro-lens view of human nature, China’s one-child policy and the democratic electoral process as the ultimate exercise in marketing,” according to an excerpt from Sheri Linden’s review in the Hollywood Reporter.

Organizers of Andover’s film series say, in a release that “this film will stay with you and cause you to assess anew the role of democracy way after you cast your vote on Nov. 6.”

COMING UP: On Oct. 18, the following Thursday, the Screening Room will show “A Separation,” the recent Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film. This movie will begin at 6:30 p.m. due to its length. All residents are invited to come watch for no charge.

“The movie, set in Iran, tells a compelling, morally complex and consistently involving story about the dissolution of a marriage,” according to movie-series organizers.