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 cheap oil.
Surplus main man is John Zerzan, controversial philosopher whose call for PROPERTY DAMAGE has inspired many to take to the streets. “That is not violence. Sitting there doing dope and watching MTV . Then you go and get a job. Just schlep along. To me that is violence,” says Zerzan. “We are terrorized into being consumers.”
In November 2003 Surplus was awarded with the most prestigious prize a Documentary can get, The Silver Wolf at Amsterdam’s IDFA, and has spread widely around the globe since then.
“… This film about consumerism totally consumed us. It used the language of music video, propaganda and commercial advertising as a response to the forces of globalisation. It fights fire with fire. The questions it raises are ultimately more important than any answers it might suggest. And we believe audiences can only profit from the debate that will ensue. For its originality, sense of humour, irony, forcefulness and visual virtuosity, the Silver Wolf Award goes to SURPLUS.” The Jury of the International Documentary Filmfestival in Amsterdam, Nov.2003.