Even if you have not watched it yet, you still must have heard about Squid Game, Netflix’s biggest “non-English- language show”. Since Netflix is available for streaming in over 190 countries, its accessibility has played a huge role in making the show a worldwide phenomenon. Watch out, Hallyu, as known as the Korean Wave, is sweeping the globe.
This dystopian series is named after a Korean children’s game called Squid Game. 456 desperate and deeply indebted contestants compete in a violent competition to win the cash prize of $34 million. They must play a series of children’s games such as red light, green light, tug of war and et cetera. Each player must participate in rounds of matches despite the deadly consequences if they lose.
Seong Gi-Hun (actor, Lee Jung-Jae) trying to break dalgona candy into umbrella shape. (Episode 3)
Although you won’t get the prize money in real life, you can still play those games from the show. If you are not a big fan of competitive games, Ppopki will be your cup of tea. Unlike the other games, you can play this game all alone, less competitive but still fun. First of all, make the sugar candy known as dalgona and then crack it into its indebted shape. As simple as it sounds, it can also be challenging as seen in the show. Also, the real prize of the game is an extra piece of dalgona, how sweet is that? Just gotta crack it right.
Besides cracking Dalgona, we are about to crack behind the stories of Director Hwang Dong-Hyuk, the creator of Squid Game. A year after releasing his feature film debut <My Father, 2007>, Director Hwang wandered around comic book stores reading all kinds of Japanese survival comics. He started wondering how it would be like making a Korean version of a survival game. While having a financially difficult time, he started writing a script about deeply indebted contestants competing in a ruthless competition for money. He almost wished he could attend the competition to have a lifetime opportunity to get out of his own debts.
Although Squid Game was initially scripted in 2008, it took over a decade to go into production. When he was looking for investors, no one was willing to take the risk of making such a violent and grotesque-themed movie. The motif was too difficult and absurd for the audiences that it wasn’t commercial enough to be aired at the time. After a year of rejections by investors, production companies, and casting agencies, he had to put the script aside and start working on a new film.
The film <Silenced> depicts real-life events at the school for young deaf students who were sexually and mentally abused by their teachers and administrators. Although the case was buried and neglected by the laws, the film’s huge success reopened the case and passed the bill to abolish sex crimes against disabled and minors. Hwang truly believes in the power of the media, which can positively affect the society we currently live in.
One of the core rules of Squid Game is that all players within the game are equal, no one has the advantage over the prize. This portrays Director Hwang’s view of the unsolved societal issues such as social inequality, insecurity, and instability which currently exist in real life. Despite the show getting all the fame, Hwang is bittersweet about the changes in society’s standards. Within the past 10 years, our society has fostered a ‘get rich quick’ culture such as buying digital coins, stocks, and housings. The concept of terrorizing survival games for money is no longer bizarre and absurd to audiences anymore.
For his upcoming movie, he will depict his perception of the future 30 years from now. He wonders how the struggles between generations and hierarchy will be affected by social issues such as poverty, climate change, and et cetera. Speaking of upcoming projects, Hwang will focus on telling the stories of characters in Squid Game season 2. Junho, the police who goes undercover as one of the red jumpsuited army, and the mysterious mask guy’s relationship will be revealed as well. Hopefully, I can master cracking Dalgona by the time season two comes out!