Surplus

Terrorized into Being Consumers

52 minutes 6.4/10 based on 6 votes

Why is the lifestyle of consumerism a source of such rage today? How come the privilege of buying goods does not automatically lead to happiness? Why all this emptiness despite our wealth?

Erik Gandini’s approach through Surplus is to portray this issue from an emotional rather than a factual perspective.

Shot in the US, India, China, Italy, Sweden, Hungary, Canada and Cuba during three years. Surplus is the result of a complicated editing process by talented music composer/editor/percussionist Johan Söderberg.

George W Bush’s famous ”shopping-speech” calling for a war against terrorism that deters the nation from the fear of consumption. Castro responding with hymns to the anti-consumerist, advertising-free island of Cuba. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer preaching that the computer will give us peace on earth ”bringing people together” while Adbuster Kalle Lasn warns that advertising pollutes us mentally, that over-consumption is unsustainable and that we are running out of oil.

Surplus main man is John Zerzan, controversial philosopher whose call for property damage has inspired many to take to the streets.

Released in 2003. 54 min. Director: Erik Gandini.

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Discuss This Documentary

  • Great documentary, quick work putting it up!
    If you like this documentary, try looking for “Lucky People Center International” which is made in the same style, with Johan Söderbergs great touch!

  • Belem

    I can’t see or understand why the director of this film used Castro’s rethoric when Cuba is miles away for what John Zerzan, the philosopher, stands for.
    It is completely misguided. Cuba is a dictatorship, people don’t consume because they want a “simple fullfilling life”, they don’t consume because they can’t, they have no freedom to do so, Cuba can’t trade with most of the world.

    • Breeebro

      What I saw here was the juxtaposition of the Cubans and their leader and the moneyed/corporate shareholders with theirs. Their emotions filling in the content as opposed to some new statistic or study. This is just a look at realities inhabitants and kind of neglecting imaginary or symbolic things like the nature of one stare over another.

  • a.m.h.

    ugggg…..I was interested in the ideas but is this a music video or a documentary? The subtitle, “Terrorized into Being Consumers”, is not justified at all. But the shots of ‘tire mountain’ were interesting (and that shot of windmills and garbage – is that real?). If you’re into techno and the overthrow of consumerism you’ll love it….

    p.s. Belem – I thought the part about Cuba was demonstrating that even systems which claim to be anti-consumerist are just as guilty – where did all those little Cuban flags come from and where will they end up?

  • Rui Azul

    I think that when Castro, when stops the peoples tendency to consumism does it taking advantdge of the embargo imposed by USA, but ‘the most wanted fruit is the one you can’t reach or buy’, so the cuban girl filled herself with burgers and tv zaping during a visit to the States. It shows that they’re like all the other countries consumers, but haven’t yet the experience of living in a free consuming society. So, they’re late to be aware of the perils of extreme consumption of things you don’t need but corporate multinationals use media, subliminal images that put the desire of having things, buy articles, and substitute the ones bougth 2 years ago by new models already on the market, to achive…what? Happiness is not included with the product you buy!

  • Almighty Atheist

    So while this documentary makes some good points i also feel it is radical in that it imposes that for us to be sustainable we must abandon technology. it almost seems as if they just misrepresented what they mean to say which is “if we continue to use technology as we do our civilization will collapse. please let me know if i missed something.

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