Elections, a fool's trap

A documentary by François Gonce

Few people know it, but Belgium is the only country in the world to have a permanent assembly of citizens chosen by lot in one of its institutions – the German-speaking Community. Surprising, for a country better known for its institutional complexity, its huge number of elected representatives and its political and financial scandals. At a time when citizen-voters have never been so distrustful and disillusioned, François Gonce takes us on a tour of the initiatives that have made Belgium a pioneer in democratic innovation. What is their real impact and what lessons can we learn from them? Can they be replicated on a larger scale to reinvent a moribund democracy in the four corners of the globe?

Directed by FRANÇOIS GONCE Produced by RAYUELA PRODUCTIONS in co-production with RTBF and SHELTERPROD, with the support of Taxshelter.be, ING, and the Belgian federal government’s tax shelter.

In 2014, I bought a small book, recently translated into French. I didn’t yet know its author, David Van Reybrouck. The title is provocative and catchy: “Contre les élections” (“Against elections”). I devoured it in a few hours. According to the Flemish author, we do not live in democracies stricto sensu. In fact, he criticises what Rousseau and Montesquieu were already denouncing in their time: representative democracy is in reality an elective aristocracy, with highly questionable representativeness. But above all, he proposed alternatives based on citizens being chosen by lot. Since then, I’ve been determined to make a documentary about the flaws in the current democratic system and possible ways of improving it.

François Gonce


Written and directed by: François Gonce

Producer: Laurence Buelens

Running time: 67 min.

Original title: Elections, piège à cons?

Languages spoken in the film: French

Image: Denis Dufays

Sound: Olivier Philippart, Julien Vanhée, Renaud Masy

Editing: Denis Vanobberge

Graphics: Jean Forest and Cécile Van Caillie

Animation: Giuseppe di Francisca

Original score: Nicolas Allard

Sound editing: Liza Thiennot

Mixing: Marina Lerchs

Color Grading: Audrick Mercier

Support(s): Tax Shelter

Co-production: RTBF, Shelterprod

Distribution: Rayuela Productions

ISAN: 0000-0007-0AF1-0000-J-0000-0000-H