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“The Squid Game” .. a new South Korean phenomenon in the global cultural scene

“The Squid Game” .. a new South Korean phenomenon in the global cultural scene

After the success of K-pop music and the Oscar win for South Korean cinema, the Asian country upended the global TV series scene with Netflix's "Squid Game" that combines social symbolism with extreme violence through a dystopian vision of a polarized society.

“The Squid Game” .. a new South Korean phenomenon in the global cultural scene After the success of K-pop music and the Oscar win for South Korean cinema, the Asian country upended the global TV series scene with Netflix's "Squid Game" that combines social symbolism with extreme violence through a dystopian vision of a polarized society.


The series deals with the story of characters from the most marginalized groups in South Korea, including an Indian immigrant and a North Korean defector, who participate in traditional children's games in the hope of winning 45.6 billion won ($38.1 million). The losers are killed in these games.



The series attracted a very large audience from all over the world thanks to a combination of factors, one of which is its combination of childish entertainment with its deadly consequences, in addition to the elaborate production and the huge scenography.


A few days after the launch of "Squid Game" last month, a "Netflix" official stated that there was "a great possibility that it would become the largest series ever" in the platform's history.


The "Squid Game" phenomenon is the latest manifestation of South Korea's growing influence on the global cultural scene, after the huge success of the Korean pop group "BTS" and the film "Parasite" winning the Palme d'Or at Cannes, and enabling it to become the first work without The English language wins the Academy Award for Best Film.


Critics believed that the success of the series, despite the fact that its events revolve in a purely Korean framework, is due to the fact that the topics it deals with and its shedding of light on the excesses of capitalism find a global resonance, and consequently constituted the key to its success everywhere.


Sharon Yoon, a professor of Korean studies at the University of Notre Dame in the United States, reminded that "the growing tendency to prioritize material gain over individual welfare" is "a phenomenon that exists in all capitalist societies around the world."


It seems that the Korean wave will not fade away soon, as “Netflix” announced last February a plan to invest $500 million during the current year alone, in series and films produced in South Korea.


"Over the last two years, the world has fallen in love with the amazing Korean works that are made in Korea and watched all over the world on Netflix," noted platform co-chair Ted Sarandos.


"We have a strong commitment to Korea, and we will continue to invest and collaborate with Korean storytellers in many forms," ​​he added.


By addressing themes of power, violence, and social issues, the artists sought to address issues that have shaped South Korea's history, from war, poverty and authoritarian governments.


This has produced a vibrant cultural scene that has attracted the interest of a global audience over recent decades.


And TV series called “K-dramas”, or Korean dramas, conquered the small screens in Asia, before South Korean cinema won prestigious awards at European festivals, and K-pop music spread around the world.


The feature film "Parasite" has made global fame for Korean-language cinema, by ironically addressing the growing gap between the rich and the poor in the country, whose economy ranks 12th in the world.


The director of "Squid Game" completed the script for the series 10 years ago, but investors were reluctant to bet on a work that they found "very bloody, unusual and mysterious."


Prior to this series, the director dealt with several topics in his works, including sexual assault, international adoption and disability, based on real facts from which he freely inspired a novelist.


As for his series on “Netflix”, which is his first, it includes clear references to a number of shocks that are still imprinted in the collective memory of South Korea today, such as the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and the dismissal of employees at the “SangYong Automotive” company in 2009, two events that led to suicides.


"Recently and rapidly over the past two decades, South Korea has transformed into a highly unequal society," said Vladimir Tikhonov, professor of Korean studies at the University of Oslo.


As for Brian Ho, professor of cinema at San Diego Public University in the United States, he considered that the popularity of the series in more than 100 countries is evidence that it was not produced for Western viewers only.


"Western audiences have always associated foreign media with poverty, and this has become a way to look down upon the rest of the world that is seen as backward," he said.


He added that what distinguishes "Squid Game" and "Parasite" is that these two works, "while addressing poverty and class inequality, do so in a way that highlights the artistic and cinematic modernity of Korea."

“The Squid Game” .. a new South Korean phenomenon in the global cultural scene After the success of K-pop music and the Oscar win for South Korean cinema, the Asian country upended the global TV series scene with Netflix's "Squid Game" that combines social symbolism with extreme violence through a dystopian vision of a polarized society.

“The Squid Game” .. a new South Korean phenomenon in the global cultural scene After the success of K-pop music and the Oscar win for South Korean cinema, the Asian country upended the global TV series scene with Netflix's "Squid Game" that combines social symbolism with extreme violence through a dystopian vision of a polarized society.

“The Squid Game” .. a new South Korean phenomenon in the global cultural scene After the success of K-pop music and the Oscar win for South Korean cinema, the Asian country upended the global TV series scene with Netflix's "Squid Game" that combines social symbolism with extreme violence through a dystopian vision of a polarized society.

“The Squid Game” .. a new South Korean phenomenon in the global cultural scene After the success of K-pop music and the Oscar win for South Korean cinema, the Asian country upended the global TV series scene with Netflix's "Squid Game" that combines social symbolism with extreme violence through a dystopian vision of a polarized society.

“The Squid Game” .. a new South Korean phenomenon in the global cultural scene After the success of K-pop music and the Oscar win for South Korean cinema, the Asian country upended the global TV series scene with Netflix's "Squid Game" that combines social symbolism with extreme violence through a dystopian vision of a polarized society.


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