The Image Formed

Previewing the 12th Austin Film Festival

Third Monday in October

D: Vanessa Roth

Imagine Vote for Pedro: The Documentary, and you've got half the appeal of this lively and insightful chronicle of middle school class elections, backdropped by the 2004 presidential elections. The film follows 11 candidates from four schools as they vie for student-council leadership – creating their platforms ("We all know we need better-smelling bathrooms"), writing their slogans, giving their speeches, and waiting for the principal's fateful announcement. "I think I'll win because I have ribbon dancers in my speech," says one kid, who's campaigning in order to "miss fourth period." Other candidates are more driven. At Atlanta's midtown Inman Middle School, three friends from the cheerleading squad square off in the race, which is finally decided by a margin of 12 votes. There's built-in drama and built-in humor, but director Roth is gentle with her subjects and their youthful aspirations. Ultimately the film gives voice to the kids' feelings about government and the political process. Highly recommended. – M.I.

10/20, 7:15pm, IMAX; 10/23, 7pm, Arbor

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More by Marrit Ingman
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July 25, 2008

King Corn
The film’s light hand, appealing style, and simple exposition make it an eminently watchable inquiry into the politics of food, public health, and the reasons why corn has become an ingredient in virtually everything we eat.

Nov. 9, 2007

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