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What is Surplus about?
On the surface of things, this is a very radical film, both in style and content. It seems to draw a scathing portrait of Western consumerist and corporate culture by brilliantly editing together politician's sound bites, found footage and interviews to an techno-soundtrack, resulting in what can best be described as the cinematic equivalent of hip hop. But then it chooses to contrast consumerist, corporate culture with two (and only two) examples of anti-globalism: Fidel Castro's Cuba, with it's rationed economy, and the ideas of John Zerzan, who basically advocates a return to the stone age. It doesn't take a lot of perception to see that both alternatives have their own problems (I'm still waiting for the day people get so fed up with consumerism they're willing to flee on dingy rafts to the socialist paradise). The movie knows those problems and uses it's editing to mock both personalities, introducing a Cuban girl telling us how impressed she was by the well stocked supermarkets on her trip to London or inter cutting Zerban's interview with a Fred-Flintstone-caveman. On the other hand, in its criticism of corporatism, it never goes much deeper than showing a hysterical Mike Balmer in full motivational mode, screaming how much he loves Microsoft. The movie never explores the violence and (mass-)murder inherent to Western-style capitalism. So, for the casual viewer watching this supposedly revolutionary, anti-establishment documentary, the conclusion might be that the diverse range of people and movements involved in Anti-Globalism are all loony-leftist Luddites and that Western Civilization isn't so bad after all, which is exactly what the powers that be want us to think.

Season 1 of Surplus

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