It was a matter of yes or no for Quebecois facing the independence referendum in 1980. In the year leading to this pivotal vote, the public engaged in what seemed to be endless and passionate discourse. Filmmaker Denys Arcand utilizes a huge amount of news footage and interviewed concerned citizens in an attempt to analyze this historic moment from an artist’s independent perspective. The documentary opens with an actor in the role of Machiavelli, who is transported from the Florentine Republic of the Renaissance period to a high-rise in 1980s Quebec. With Machiavelli reading (in French) straight from The Prince and The Discourses on Livy, the director is making a statement on the mechanisms responsible for the results of the historic referendum in 1980. The politicians’ use of deceit to manipulate Quebecois’ malaise, democratic debates turning into entertainment, and the oversimplification of statistical analyses are presented by the film as contributing factors to the people’s comfort and indifference.