Even if you haven’t watched the series or seen the mimes that have taken over the internet – chances are you’ve heard of the Squid Game.
Everyone is talking about this hyper-violent thriller that has become a huge hit since it was released on Netflix last month.
Moreover, this Korean series – which deals with a brutal survival game – is well on its way to surpassing Bridgerton, a love story and thus becoming the most watched original series of all time on this streaming platform.
Although the genre of the series is not new at all, its striking visual aesthetics, characters you can identify with and a disturbing study of human nature have managed to hit the strings of audiences around the world.
Murders on the playground
In the series, a group of 456 people, over-indebted and desperate, are drawn into a survival game in which they have a chance to take home 45.6 billion Korean won ($ 39 million) if they win a series of six games.
Doorknob? If they lose, they die.
The games are quite simple – children’s pastimes that they played while growing up.
And the surprising counterpoint between innocent children’s play and violent deaths led viewers to follow the action intently.
“People are attracted by the irony that adults who have lost all hope risk their lives to win a child’s game,” Squid Game director Hwang Dong Huck said in an interview.
“The games are simple and easy, so viewers can focus more on each character individually instead of the complex rules of the game.”
And there is an element of nostalgia.
For example, the games with Dalgon’s sweets from the third episode are remembered by Koreans as the ones they liked to play as children.
In this challenge, players must carefully cut out a shape from candy made of melted sugar as thin as paper with a needle.
If you get a more complex shape and the candy breaks, you lose.
One Korean user tweeted:
“Because of the Squid Game series, I wanted to try Dalgon again. It’s been 20 years… Are they still being made? I don’t think I can find them anywhere. “
Characters like you and me
Experts also attribute the success of the series to her characters, many of whom are marginalized members of society.
Although they are all connected by huge financial problems, they come from all walks of life.
The main character, for example, is an unemployed man with gambling addiction who struggles to gain the respect of his native family.
In the game, he introduces a girl with a tragic past who fled from North Korea and a Pakistani worker who is being exploited by employers.
Kim Pyeong Gang, a professor of global cultural content at Sangmung University, told the BBC:
“People, especially the younger generation, who regularly suffer from alienation and dissatisfaction in real life, seem to have identified with these characters.”
As with its East Asian neighbors, the hyper-competitive nature of South Korean society has dispelled all illusions in many.
Despite hard work, it is simply not possible for everyone to get the best positions at the university or good jobs.
The games in the series, as deadly as they are, represent an alternative world supposedly based on fair play.
As one of the organizers of the game in the series says: “All participants in the game are equal.
We give people who have experienced unfair treatment and discrimination in the outside set one last chance to win a fair competition. “
Red light, green light
Western media have compared the Squid Game to Parasite, an Oscar-winning 2019 Korean film that also deals with economic inequality and injustice in society.
But in East Asia, viewers pointed out that the series resembles the Japanese film from 2014, How is God’s Will. The film deals with high school students, but has a similar story line, and some have even accused the Squid Game of plagiarism.
For example, in How is God’s Will, the traditional children’s game “Red Light, Green Light” also appears.
In one of the most famous scenes from the Squid Game, a huge robotic girl uses laser eyes to register players who have lost the game. They are then killed.
However, director Hwang rejected these accusations, saying that there was “no connection” between the two parts, and that the parallels were drawn only because of the genre of the series.
“I started planning the Squid Game in 2008, and I started writing the script in 2009 – the similarities that are pointed out are pure coincidence and no one copied anyone there,” he says.
In any case, all the fuss that accompanies the series has led to a request for a second season, but fans could wait.
“I don’t have well-developed plans for the Squid Game 2,” he told Variety. “I only get tired when I think about it.”
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Source: Dnevni list Danas by www.danas.rs.
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