Documental: Why Democracy?: Please Vote For Me by Jamie

Ah, democracy. It’s a funny old thing. People vote and people get elected and on and on it goes. Good times. Yeah, I don’t have that much to say about democracy. It’s pretty good, I guess. Better than a dictatorship at least. Good for democracy.

Anyway, with that pointless rambling out of the way, let’s get onto the review and it’s something a bit different today. It’s a short documentary, less than an hour long in fact, and is part of a series, ‘Why Democracy?’, which was shown worldwide on the subject of democracy. I can’t say I know much about the series having never seen or heard of it before nor seeing any of the other films within the series so I’ll just say I’m sure it’s a very good series which raises many important points about worldwide democracy though I will point out that the opening claims that it is being watched by 300,000,000 viewers. That might seem impressive but keep in mind that’s not even a quarter of the world’s population. Still, whatever.

So this film is called ‘Please Vote For Me’ and it takes place in the Evergreen Primary School in Wuhan, China. It follows the first ever election for class monitor in all of China amongst a class of 8 year olds. The first candidate is Luo Lei, a boy who has been chosen by the teacher to be class monitor for the past two years and has a reputation for being quite strict when it comes to enforcing the classes rules, even going so far as to beat other children when they step out of line. The second candidate is Cheng Cheng and I can only really describe him as a real life Chinese Eric Cartman without the foul mouth. He’s very manipulative and tries to manipulate every situation to his advantage. The third and final candidate is Xu Xiaofei, a girl who is perceived as being quite shy and not particularly adept at coping with stressful situations.

The first thing you notice is just how quickly one of the candidates, Cheng, turns to dirty tactics in order to try and make the election go his way. Each of the three has to perform in a talent show and Cheng decides to tell his helpers to encourage people to boo and hiss during Xu’s performance, leading to her breaking down in a flood of tears. Whilst Xu is outside being comforted by her mother and teacher, Cheng heads outside and apologies for Luo, claiming that the entire plan was thought up by him. Devious little bastard.

Also interesting is the ways in which the parents try and help their children during the election. Luo Lei’s father is the head of the local police force and as such he organises a trip for the class on the monorail, the most up to date form of transport in the area. It also seems as though this is where Luo get’s his inspiration for his strict enforcement of the rules. Cheng’s parents help him by writing his speeches and telling him exactly how to catch put his opponents and make it seem as though they are liars. Xu’s mother is divorced and is the head of the school. She doesn’t seem to provide much of the way in tactics but helps by boosting her daughters confidence as much as she can.

I don’t want to give away the ending of the film as it’s a really interesting piece that you should probably watch it for yourself and it can probably be found fairly easily on the internet. Ah yes, here it is on YouTube. What I will say is that the film is a fascinating look at the way that the voting process works. You might think that all the mudslinging, underhanded tactics and bribing of the electorate is exaggerated because the election is being held amongst children but really, is it that different from what happens in real elections? Think about it. Yeah, deep.

All in all, I’ll say that despite it’s short length, ‘Please Vote For Me’ is a really enjoyable film and is really quite comedic in it’s look at the democratic process. I highly recommend you view it. Four pints out of five. Laterz

DocuMental: Zoo by Jamie
22/10/2008, 7:19 am
Filed under: Documental | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ok, I’ve been watching a hell of a lot of documentaries lately and so I shall review them. Wow, that was an awful opening sentence. Never mind, let us continue regardless. The world of documentaries has always fascinated me. I love fictional films, obviously, but there’s something different about a really great documentary. Unfortunately what I’m reviewing today is not a great documentary.

Zoo is a 2007 film directed by Robinson Devor. It concerns the 2005 death of Kenneth Pinyan, referred to in the film by his username ‘Mr Hands‘, a 45 year old man who was fucked to death by a stallion. That’s right, he was literally fucked to death by a horse. A horse fucked him, punctured his colon and he was dropped off at hospital by another horse fucker and died there of his injuries. The death resulted in the passing of a law which made it illegal to have sex with animals in Washington… I honestly can’t believe that this was legal in Washington until 2005. I now have a horrible feeling that Bill Clinton wasn’t the only one to engage in sexual discretions in the White House. After all, Nixon REALLY loved his dog Checkers but I digress.

Essentially the story goes that there was a farm in Washington owned by an old couple who loved there horses. They had a guy working there for them who also loved horses. He loved them, however, in a different way. The kind of way were you allow yourself to be mounted by said horses. He thought it would be fun to invite other people over to the farm who were also interested in such activities when ever the couple went away and so he did via the world wide web, mankind’s greatest invention when it comes to enabling deviant sexual behaviour. Hooray!

So people would come out the farm, have a few drinks, eat some food, watch TV and then go and get fucked by a horse. You know, just a regular night in with the lads. So anyway, one night Kenneth goes out, does the usual and starts to complain that he’s not feeling right. It soon becomes clear that something pretty bad has happened so one of the other guys dumps him at a hospital and drives off. Unfortunately for him, a number of CCTV cameras track his car and it’s journey. The media are soon flying over their farm in a helicopter, police are called in and religious folks try and save the animal fucker’s souls. The couple who actually own the farm are shown some footage of the actual manimal loving, and so unfortunately is the viewer, but no one is actually charged because at the time it’s not against the law.

That’s the story. In the film it’s almost exclusively told in recreations for obvious reasons. The problem that I have with the documentary, other than seeing the act on screen even if only fleeting glimpses, is that it’s told in some weird, experimental storytelling format, something the film has been praised for. It doesn’t seem to have any real structure until the last half of the film which made it really difficult to get into. The first half seems to just throw random parts of the story in, interviewing the woman who rescued the animal who caused the man’s death, a man explaining how he got into bestiality and several others, all just jumbled up together with no semblance of an order.

The worst thing though, the worst fucking thing, is that every scene seemed to be shot in slow motion. It’s like the ‘300’ of dude fucked to death by a horse movies. At least in three hundred there were times when this was kind of Ok. In this however scenes of people walking, running, watching TV and answering the phone are all in fucking slow motion and though the music in the film wasn’t particularly bad, it was not particularly great either. In fact, sometimes it made the scene seem even slower than they were already.

The strangest part of the film, and that really is a claim when talking about a film in which a man is fucked to death by a horse, comes at about half way through. Suddenly we’re introduced to a man, sitting on a stool in a white room who is just talking. It turns out that this man is one of the actors in the film. This really confused me for a second because I suddenly thought that maybe I’d been watching a documentary on the making of Zoo for 45 minutes. Maybe that explained why they hadn’t really touched on the story that I thought the film was actually about at this point, but no it turns out this man felt that he could somehow relate to this story because he once tried to help a drowning kid at a swimming pool and failed. I honestly didn’t fully understand the connection and still don’t now.

Oh, and to top it of they geld the horse who killed the dude. They castrate the fucking horse so that no one who is interested in having sex with it will come to try and adopt it. That’s just wrong in my books. How about they just don’t let anyone adopt the fucking horse and let it keep it’s tackle?

Overall, I just didn’t like this film. The strange story-telling style definitely had something to do with it. I just felt it was unnecessary and really detracted from whatever plot or point they were trying to get across. I guess ultimately I just was also kinda disappointed that this film wasn’t as funny as I felt a film about a man being fucked to death by a horse should’ve been. It was just kinda dark and disturbing.

Now, in honour of my favourite documentary, King Of Kong, I shall give each documentary a review out of five Kongs. Zoo receives 1 Kong out of 5. Now, if you don’t mind I must go muck out the stables.

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