Surplus: Terrorized into Being Consumers

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Surplus: Terrorized Into Being Consumers
Directed byErik Gandini
Produced byErik Gandini
Written byErik Gandini
Music byDavid Österberg
Johan Söderberg
CinematographyLukas Eisenhauer Carl Nilsson
Edited byJohan Söderberg
Release date
21 November 2003
Running time
54 min. (approx.)

Surplus: Terrorized Into Being Consumers is a 2003 Swedish documentary film on consumerism and globalization, created by director Erik Gandini and editor Johan Söderberg. It looks at the arguments for capitalism and technology, such as greater efficiency, more time and less work, and argues that these are not being fulfilled, and they never will be. The film leans towards anarcho-primitivist ideology and argues for 'a simple and fulfilling life'.



John Zerzan


  • RealDoll manufacturer gives a tour of his warehouse, showing the variety and cost of the sex-dolls.


  • Mirta Muñes shows the Cuban ration card, Cuban toothpaste.
  • Pre Fidel Speech Parade, Fidel going up to the pulpit.
  • Tania speaks about having gone out of Cuba, amazed by supermarkets, McDonald's, and gaining a lot of weight.


  • Internet-wealthy Svante says he hates money, feels empty.
  • John Zerzan on emptiness in consumer society.
  • Ballmer's monkeyboy dance and then "I love this company" statement intermixed with workers stretching, then Fidel Castro lip-synched to "I love this company".
  • footage from Alang, India where it says 40,000 workers scrap ships to recycle steel.
  • John Zerzan speech saying violent protesting is better than peaceful protesting, intermixed with a car show, and protesting.

New Ethic

  • John Zerzan says corporate property of Starbucks or similar is the main target of his criticism due to being understood as destructive and wiping out freedom and diversity.
  • footage of primitive man.
  • landfills, with conclusion: there is a paradigm shift coming where people will not want corporate products and will desire a simple, fulfilling life. This can be understood ironically.



It prominently features the views of anarcho-primitivist John Zerzan.

Talking Heads[edit]



Surplus uses many montages.

Surplus overtly uses lip-synching to put words in the mouth of people who hold similar world powering positions. Examples of this are George W. Bush speaking for Adbusters, Fidel Castro mouthing the words of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer: "I love this company! Yeah!"

Soundtrack listing[edit]

  • Gotan Project - Triptico
  • Tosca - Orozco
  • Aphrodelics - Aphrodelics – Rollin' on Chrome (Wild Motherfucker dub)
  • Marc O´Sullivan (The Mighty Quark) - Smokescreen
  • Marc O´Sullivan (The Mighty Quark) - Theme from Good People
  • Johan Söderberg and David Österberg - No-tech-no
  • Johan Söderberg and David Österberg - Rice&Beans
  • Johan Söderberg and David Österberg - 18 Miljener



IDFA Competition for Mid-Length Documentary, 2003 [1]


  1. ^ "Winnaars Mid-Length | IDFA". Retrieved 2 December 2016.[dead link]

External links[edit]