Erik Gandini Retrospective

Surplus: Terrorized Into Being Consumers

Erik Gandini
Screening time  
27.02. / Saturday, 15:00 - 17:00 Theatre 1  
Advertising spot is the most powerful weapon of communication humankind has ever invented.

Anti-globalisation guru John Zerzan considers the advertising spot the most powerful weapon of communication humankind has ever invented. In thirty seconds, the receiver of any given message is reduced into a docile consumption slave, one who must believe that buying things is soul-saving. Zerzan proposes that the destruction of fast-food restaurants and chain stores is only a reaction to violence: ‘We are terrorised into being consumers’. Surplus is an attempt to regain our humanity, to get the consumption slaves of the First World to think about the consequences of our actions. To figure out how an elite group which makes up only one-fifth of the world’s population gives itself permission to use up four-fifths of the planet’s natural resources. To this end, Surplus mimics the use of the same techniques as a television ad: a manipulative collage of sound and image, full of suggestive repetition. With an ironic wink, sound bites like ‘people don’t shop’, ‘I love this company’ and ‘property damage’ criss-cross the lips of Bush, Berlusconi, Chirac, Putin and Castro, in many cases wrenched from one context into a new meaning. Through them, the filmmaker interlaces abstract images of the waste produced by our modern consumer society: mounds of discarded car tires and cans. Connection is made by conversations with world citizens: a dealer in expensive high-quality sex dolls, an Internet millionaire for whom spending money is a full day’s work, a poor Cuban woman gaping at Western super-abundance. 


Erik Gandini

Erik Gandini, born in 1967, Sweden, is a director, producer, and writer. He has directed numerous films and documentaries highlighting Sacrificio: Who Betrayed Che Guevara? co-directed with Tarik Saleh, Surplus. Terrorized Into Being Consumers awarded in IDFA and Videocracy, award winning in Toronto and Sheffield, amongst others. ZagrebDox screened most of his films in different programs, Retrospective program included, and Gandini held the Masterclass at 12th festival edition. He is one of the founders of the Swedish production company Atmo.

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Surplus: Terrorized Into Being Consumers

2003, 58'

Directed by:
Erik Gandini

Carl Nilsson, Lukas Eisenhauer

Edited by:
Johan Söderberg

Johan Söderberg, David Österberg

Erik Gandini, Tarik Saleh

Produced by:
Atmo Media Network AB

Festivals & Awards:

IDFA 2003 – Silver Wolf Award; Prague One World Film Festival 2004 – Czech Radio Award; Seville European Film Festival 2004 – Special Mention; Vila do Conde International Short Film Festival 2004 – Audience Award