Three Chinese school-kids of the Evergreen Primary School: Xu Xiaofei who is the quieter one, Cheng Cheng who is a somewhat cocky child and Luo Lei, who is sterner, are chosen to become candidates as the class holds an election for Class Monitor. It was the first democratic election held in a Chinese school and it was quite interesting to see these school-kids relish on the workings of a democratic election.Being explained by the teacher in the beginning of the film, the Class Monitor is usually assigned but this time; they will hold an election and have the classmates themselves vote for who they want to have as the Monitor. These kids at first didn’t have much of an idea of what democracy was until they started this election. They started to get a feel of what it was like to make their own decisions and to be able to voice their opinions of things which to some of the students was eye-opening.
We are also introduced to their everyday life with their families and we see their families helping them out in any way they can to make sure that their child turns away from the election victorious. The parents obviously have a huge influence on these kids when the film switches into the family life. The kids get their hand into negative campaigning, saying that a child is talkative and doesn’t pay attention in class or just doing mean things at them while they are in front of the class like booing when they play the flute. It’s quite fascinating to see these little children dive into these tactics. It makes me look at politicians acting like they are little school children. In fact, that’s probably all I will be thinking about when I see two politicians argue and bicker; they are just two little kids going back and forth, “No, you didn’t!” “Yes, I did!” “NO YOU DIDN’T!” YES I DID!”
In one scene, Cheng Cheng asks the director of the documentary to ask a student who they are going to vote for. The director asks and says they are going to vote for Cheng Cheng but Cheng doesn’t believe it, thinking they are only saying that because he is in the same room. So he leaves the room and asks the director to ask again, resulting in the same answer. Many times throughout the film, the candidates ask students who they are going to vote for and the answers are either straightforward, in which they actually say who they are voting for (even if they aren’t going to vote for the person asking) to not even answering at all.
It doesn’t matter who actually won this election between these three Chinese school-kids, what matters is the process of seeing these three trying their hardest to win, doing anything they can to win and to see the other school children get manipulated into voting for a candidate. I hope you give this documentary an hour of your time. As the teacher says to the students towards the end of the documentary; “You are the master of your own choice. Think about it seriously, voting is a sacred matter.” I think that sums up this documentary pretty well.