'Overload' is a term from the computer world indicating that a computer is unable to process any further data. The film Overload tries to realise a similar process with its audience. 'I intend Overload to be provocative and controversial', director Mel Clay said during a presentation of his film.
In Overload, he tries to show the ‘dehumanisation’ of the modern consumer society and individual resistance to this, as well as loneliness and despair. Clay tells this in a series of associative images that show, in his words, the most elementary human feelings; fear, insecurity, indifference, violence and aimlessness.
For Clay, this film should make it clear to people that change is necessary – he wants to make people think. If this compromises filmic quality, that’s not an issue for him. The film was banned by the Dutch censorship board because of an explicit scene with a masturbating woman. For this reason, it’s only ever been shown twice: once in a closed screening during Cinemanifestatie in Utrecht in February 1972, and once in the Filmmuseum in Amsterdam a month and half later.
Centrale Commissie voor de Filmkeuring (Nationaal Archief; P58)