Squid Game

Mike Bulgakov

G.O.A.T.
I wasn't interested until reading this very interesting interview with Hwang this morning,



‘Squid Game’ Creator Hwang Dong-hyuk Talks Season 2, Show’s Deeper Meaning
The South Korean director opens up about the "dumbfounding" experience of having his show become Netflix's biggest title ever: "There have been a lot of different layers of feelings."
BY PATRICK BRZESKI
OCTOBER 13, 2021 5:30AM

The Hollywood Reporter connected with Hwang this week via Zoom from Seoul to talk about the painful personal origins of Squid Game‘s concept, his thoughts on the story’s deeper meanings and where he’d like to take his blockbuster series next (spoilers ahead).

What was the very beginning of Squid Game‘s creation? How did the concept come to you?

So back in 2008, I had a script that I had written, which I was running around with trying to get investment, but it didn’t work out and it wasn’t made into a movie. So that actually put me into a really difficult financial situation — I was broke. So I spent a lot of time killing time in comic book cafes, reading. And I read a lot of comic books revolving around surviving death games — manga like Liar Game, Kaiji and Battle Royale. And well, I read some stories about these indebted people entering into these life-and-death games, and that became really immersive for me because I was struggling financially myself. I was even thinking that I would love to join a game like that, if it existed, to make a bunch of cash and get out of this terrible situation. And then that got me thinking, “Well, I’m a director. Why don’t I just make a movie with this kind of storyline?” So that’s how it all got started. I decided that I wanted to create a Korean survival game piece in my own way. That’s how Squid Game was initially conceived in 2008, and then I wrote a script for a feature-length film version throughout 2009.

It’s interesting how rooted in your personal struggles the concept actually is. Were there other ways you drew on your own life in fleshing out the story and the characters?

Oh yeah, in fact, the names of the characters Seong Gi-hun (Squid Game‘s lead, played by Lee Jung-jae), Cho Sang-woo (the lead’s childhood friend who left the neighborhood to study at the acclaimed Seoul National University, played by Park Hae-soo) and Il-nam (the elderly competitor at the heart of the story, played by O Yeong-su), are all the names of my friends. Cho Sang-woo is a childhood friend of mine, who I used to play with in the alleyways. There are several more too — Hwang Jun-ho (the police officer, played by Wi Ha-jun, who sneaks into Squid Game to search for his brother) and Hwang In-ho (the missing brother, aka The Front Man, played by Korean superstar Lee Byung-hun) — these are the names of real people from my life too. Hwang Jun-ho is my friend and Hwang In-ho is his actual older brother, just like in the movie.

I infused myself into Gi-hun and Sang-woo’s characters quite significantly. Just like Gi-hun, after the failure of my movie, I had a time when I wasn’t able to make any money and I was supported financially by my mother. There was also a time when I was going to the horse races with the dream of winning a lot of money — although I didn’t steal from my mother like Gi-hun does. His character also has some bits of my uncle who used to be a real trouble to my grandmother. And like both of them, I grew up in Ssangmun-dong, [the lower-income area of Seoul’s Dobong-gu district], and my family wasn’t very well off when I was young. My grandmother used to go out to the market and set up a little street stall as a merchant, like Sang-woo’s mother in the show. And then, just like Sang-woo, I went to Seoul National University, the most prestigious university in Korea, and I was subject to a lot of big expectations from my family, and a lot of envy from those around me.

So yeah, my grandmother, my mother, myself, my friends, and the stories of my neighborhood are all in Squid Game.

Since the show’s enormous success, have you talked with your family and old friends about the fact that their names and their world are now part of this global phenomenon? What’s their reaction?

Yeah, they kept calling me like, “Oh my God, you used my name!” (Laughs.) Hwang Jun-ho said, “You even used my brother’s name!” His older brother is living in the States and he suddenly called him after seeing the show. Like the two characters, they were not really talking to each other that often, and his brother wasn’t coming home to visit their mother. So that is why I intentionally used those two names. It was like an inside joke between me and my friends — to get In-ho to finally call his brother and apologize for being out of touch. And it worked — it actually happened! When he called, In-ho apologized to his brother for being out of contact for so long.

That’s awesome. What a happy outcome. So the question everyone must be asking you: What’s your theory for why Squid Game has become so popular all around the world?

Well, when I began making Squid Game, I actually did target a global audience. The children’s games that are featured in the show are those that will bring out nostalgia from adults who actually played them as a kid; but they’re also games that are really easy to grasp. So anyone watching, from anywhere in the world, can understand the rules of the games very easily. And since the games are so simple, the viewers don’t need to focus on trying to understand the rules. They can instead focus on the inner feelings and the dynamics between the characters a lot more, and then they can get immersed into the whole experience, cheering for and empathizing with the characters.

And personally, I wanted to create a story that is very entertaining — something really fun to watch. I mean, it may be ironic for me to say that because there are some terrible atrocities that happen in the story, but I really wanted to create a story that will be immersive. And I wanted the viewers who watch Squid Game to start questioning themselves. How am I living my life? Who am I among these characters, and what kind of world am I living in? I wanted these questions to be asked. As you start watching, I want you to think, “What kind of story is this? This is all too surreal.” But then as you watch more, you will get attached to the characters and starting cheering for some of them, and hating others. And then eventually, you should have the experience of connecting it all to the real world that we’re living in. In that way, you’ll be able to draw some of the messages from the series.
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-news/squid-game-creator-season-2-meaning-1235030617/
 

Mike Bulgakov

G.O.A.T.
Continued:

Yeah, what about that? Do you think the way this particular show has caught on in such a profound way, globally, has anything to say about the state of the world?

Well, these days we are, in fact, living in a deeply unfair and economically challenging world. Especially after the pandemic. I mean, there is more inequality, more severe competition and more people are being pushed to the edge of their livelihoods. Currently, I would say that more than 90 percent of people across the world will be able to somehow connect and empathize with the plight of the characters that are portrayed in the series. More than anything else, that’s probably why the series was such a big success worldwide.

Squid Game’s premise often seems to entail a very dark view of human nature and how our capitalist societies are structured. But there are also glimmers of optimism and more positive hints about human nature. The show seems to revolve around the struggle between these two fundamental world views. Do you see yourself as ultimately an optimist?

That’s very difficult to answer. Personally, I’m not an optimist, and people around me often tell me that I’m more of a cynical type. So it’s true that the world of Squid Game is depicted in a very dark way, in a cynical way, with some very cold-eyed views on humanity.

Nevertheless, I believe that we cannot go on living without trust in other people — unless you choose to do wrong things and go down a dark path. This is very well depicted in the lines of Gi-hun. Right before the nighttime battle when he is approaching Sae-byeok (the female North Korean defector, played by breakout star Jung Ho-yeon) to come join his team. Sae-byeok says, “I don’t trust people.” But to that, Gi-hun says, “You don’t trust people because you can; you trust people because you have to” — meaning, we don’t have anything else to depend on. Those lines from Gi-hun are, in fact, exactly in line with my feelings. Many of us are put in situations where we cannot really trust other people. I mean, I have been put in that situation quite often. But even though that is the case, if you don’t trust other people, and if you don’t have trust in the humanity that is inside yourself, then there is really no answer for you as to how you are going to live.

So even though the overall situation in the world is quite grim, and even though some people will betray you, and even though you’re in a situation where it’s quite difficult for you to have trust in anyone, fundamentally, you have to strive to believe in that last glimmer of hope that is coming out of Pandora’s box. These were my thoughts. And it’s portrayed in that scene near the end, where Gi-hun is approaching the sleeping Sang-woo with a knife in his hand, and he’s preparing to stab him. This is the moment when Gi-hun was about to lose the last string of humanity left inside him. But then Sae-byeok stops him, by saying, “You’re not that kind of person.” This is the gift that Sae-byeok gave Gi-hun, by reminding him of his remaining humanity.

It’s well known by now that many Korean studios passed on Squid Game over the years, and you waited about a decade to get it made. So, I have to wonder what this moment has been like for you personally — seeing your long-gestating show suddenly become this global, blockbuster phenomenon, with all the media attention that entails.

Well, one thing I want to clarify quickly is that there seems to be this common misunderstanding emerging that I wasn’t doing anything else and just focusing on Squid Game for about 10 years, and this made us a blockbuster success somehow. But that wasn’t really the case. In 2009, when it didn’t work out for me to get the necessary investment for the initial feature film piece I was envisioning, I put Squid Game aside. And I went on to create three other movies, and all of those were successful. So, I mean, it’s not like I didn’t do anything else in between and then had this sudden blockbuster success. It’s kind of been misconceived that way in some places, so I just wanted to clarify that a bit.

But so, like I said, I initially thought of this piece at a time when I was really struggling — I would say it was the lowest point in my life. And all of Squid Game was written back then. So when I opened up the files again to rework it, and read through all of the scripts and the emails that I exchanged with all of the people around me back then, I actually had a moment where I broke down and cried by myself. The script itself was infused with a lot of hard memories, but then there were all of those emails where I was asking people to read the script, asking around trying to get investment, and going through a lot of personal pain.

A lot of hardship is ingrained in this show — but then it became a blockbuster worldwide success. So there have been a lot of different layers of feelings. Of course, I’m exhilarated about the success. And I’m dumbfounded that this could actually happen to a director like me. But then I am also reminded of the people that I was not able to pay attention to, or spend time with as much as I wanted to in the past. I had a girlfriend back then who I was not able to do very good things for, and we broke up right after I finished the original Squid Gamescript. So yeah, it’s been a really complex experience that I’ve had — emotionally and memory-wise — after the success of Squid Game.

The first season of Squid Game seems to conclude in a very open-ended way, with lots of further storytelling potential. If there is to be a season two, what are some of the threads you’d be excited to return to and explore further?

It’s true that season one ended in an open-ended way, but I actually thought that this could be good closure for the whole story, too. Season one ends with Gi-hun turning back and not getting on the plane to the States. And that was, in fact, my way of communicating the message that you should not be dragged along by the competitive flow of society, but that you should start thinking about who has created the whole system — and whether there is some potential for you to turn back and face it. So it’s not necessarily Gi-hun turning back to get revenge. It could actually be interpreted as him making a very on-the-spot eye contact with what is truly going on in the bigger picture. So I thought that might be a good, simple-but-ambiguous way to end the story for Gi-hun. But there are some other stories in the series that have not been addressed. For example, the story of the police officer and the story of his brother, the Front Man. So if I end up creating season two, I’d like to explore that storyline — what is going on between those two brothers? And then I could also go into the story of that recruiter in the suit who plays the game of ddakji with Gi-hun and gives him the card in the first episode. And, of course, we could go with Gi-hun’s story as he turns back, and explore more about how he’s going to navigate through his reckoning with the people who are designing the games. So, I don’t know yet, but I’ll just say there are a lot of possibilities out there for season two storylines.

You created, wrote and directed every episode of Squid Game yourself. That’s an enormous solo undertaking and pretty uncommon in high-end TV today. I imagine it’s rather daunting to think about doing it all over again — especially with the whole world watching now?

Yeah, I mean, as you said, this was a nine-episode series and I was the only one who was writing the scripts and directing the whole thing, so it was a really physically, mentally, emotionally challenging task. And the story doesn’t exactly have the simplest concept, so as we were going along, new ideas were coming to me, or I would see flaws that I felt needed to be corrected, so I was, in fact, revising the script as I was filming the whole series. So that’s partly why I had a huge amount of stress, which led to me losing six teeth during production, which I’ve mentioned in some other interviews.

And you’re right, the pressure on me is huge now, with such a big audience waiting for a season two. Because of all that pressure, I haven’t decided yet whether or not I should do another season. But if you look at it in a positive way, because so many people loved season one and are expecting good things for season two, there are people everywhere in the world offering their opinions about where the show should go. I could actually pull ideas from fans all around the world to create the next season. I think that’s what I’m wrestling with right now — that I shouldn’t just view it as a huge amount of pressure, but think of all of this love and support I’m receiving as a big box of inspiration that I can leverage for season two.

OK, last question: You mentioned earlier that when you were broke and bummed out 10 years ago, reading Battle Royale manga in cafes, you thought that if a real-life death game existed with a big cash prize, you would love to play it as a potential escape from your problems. At this point in your life, if Squid Game really existed, would you call the number on the card and sign up?

(Laughs.) Well, if I were in Il-nam’s shoes — the old man with the brain tumor who has only a year or two to live — I would probably seriously consider it.

Interview has been edited for length and clarity.
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-news/squid-game-creator-season-2-meaning-1235030617/
 

Teslar

Rookie
Continued:

Yeah, what about that? Do you think the way this particular show has caught on in such a profound way, globally, has anything to say about the state of the world?

Well, these days we are, in fact, living in a deeply unfair and economically challenging world. Especially after the pandemic. I mean, there is more inequality, more severe competition and more people are being pushed to the edge of their livelihoods. Currently, I would say that more than 90 percent of people across the world will be able to somehow connect and empathize with the plight of the characters that are portrayed in the series. More than anything else, that’s probably why the series was such a big success worldwide.

Squid Game’s premise often seems to entail a very dark view of human nature and how our capitalist societies are structured. But there are also glimmers of optimism and more positive hints about human nature. The show seems to revolve around the struggle between these two fundamental world views. Do you see yourself as ultimately an optimist?

That’s very difficult to answer. Personally, I’m not an optimist, and people around me often tell me that I’m more of a cynical type. So it’s true that the world of Squid Game is depicted in a very dark way, in a cynical way, with some very cold-eyed views on humanity.

Nevertheless, I believe that we cannot go on living without trust in other people — unless you choose to do wrong things and go down a dark path. This is very well depicted in the lines of Gi-hun. Right before the nighttime battle when he is approaching Sae-byeok (the female North Korean defector, played by breakout star Jung Ho-yeon) to come join his team. Sae-byeok says, “I don’t trust people.” But to that, Gi-hun says, “You don’t trust people because you can; you trust people because you have to” — meaning, we don’t have anything else to depend on. Those lines from Gi-hun are, in fact, exactly in line with my feelings. Many of us are put in situations where we cannot really trust other people. I mean, I have been put in that situation quite often. But even though that is the case, if you don’t trust other people, and if you don’t have trust in the humanity that is inside yourself, then there is really no answer for you as to how you are going to live.

So even though the overall situation in the world is quite grim, and even though some people will betray you, and even though you’re in a situation where it’s quite difficult for you to have trust in anyone, fundamentally, you have to strive to believe in that last glimmer of hope that is coming out of Pandora’s box. These were my thoughts. And it’s portrayed in that scene near the end, where Gi-hun is approaching the sleeping Sang-woo with a knife in his hand, and he’s preparing to stab him. This is the moment when Gi-hun was about to lose the last string of humanity left inside him. But then Sae-byeok stops him, by saying, “You’re not that kind of person.” This is the gift that Sae-byeok gave Gi-hun, by reminding him of his remaining humanity.

It’s well known by now that many Korean studios passed on Squid Game over the years, and you waited about a decade to get it made. So, I have to wonder what this moment has been like for you personally — seeing your long-gestating show suddenly become this global, blockbuster phenomenon, with all the media attention that entails.

Well, one thing I want to clarify quickly is that there seems to be this common misunderstanding emerging that I wasn’t doing anything else and just focusing on Squid Game for about 10 years, and this made us a blockbuster success somehow. But that wasn’t really the case. In 2009, when it didn’t work out for me to get the necessary investment for the initial feature film piece I was envisioning, I put Squid Game aside. And I went on to create three other movies, and all of those were successful. So, I mean, it’s not like I didn’t do anything else in between and then had this sudden blockbuster success. It’s kind of been misconceived that way in some places, so I just wanted to clarify that a bit.

But so, like I said, I initially thought of this piece at a time when I was really struggling — I would say it was the lowest point in my life. And all of Squid Game was written back then. So when I opened up the files again to rework it, and read through all of the scripts and the emails that I exchanged with all of the people around me back then, I actually had a moment where I broke down and cried by myself. The script itself was infused with a lot of hard memories, but then there were all of those emails where I was asking people to read the script, asking around trying to get investment, and going through a lot of personal pain.

A lot of hardship is ingrained in this show — but then it became a blockbuster worldwide success. So there have been a lot of different layers of feelings. Of course, I’m exhilarated about the success. And I’m dumbfounded that this could actually happen to a director like me. But then I am also reminded of the people that I was not able to pay attention to, or spend time with as much as I wanted to in the past. I had a girlfriend back then who I was not able to do very good things for, and we broke up right after I finished the original Squid Gamescript. So yeah, it’s been a really complex experience that I’ve had — emotionally and memory-wise — after the success of Squid Game.

The first season of Squid Game seems to conclude in a very open-ended way, with lots of further storytelling potential. If there is to be a season two, what are some of the threads you’d be excited to return to and explore further?

It’s true that season one ended in an open-ended way, but I actually thought that this could be good closure for the whole story, too. Season one ends with Gi-hun turning back and not getting on the plane to the States. And that was, in fact, my way of communicating the message that you should not be dragged along by the competitive flow of society, but that you should start thinking about who has created the whole system — and whether there is some potential for you to turn back and face it. So it’s not necessarily Gi-hun turning back to get revenge. It could actually be interpreted as him making a very on-the-spot eye contact with what is truly going on in the bigger picture. So I thought that might be a good, simple-but-ambiguous way to end the story for Gi-hun. But there are some other stories in the series that have not been addressed. For example, the story of the police officer and the story of his brother, the Front Man. So if I end up creating season two, I’d like to explore that storyline — what is going on between those two brothers? And then I could also go into the story of that recruiter in the suit who plays the game of ddakji with Gi-hun and gives him the card in the first episode. And, of course, we could go with Gi-hun’s story as he turns back, and explore more about how he’s going to navigate through his reckoning with the people who are designing the games. So, I don’t know yet, but I’ll just say there are a lot of possibilities out there for season two storylines.

You created, wrote and directed every episode of Squid Game yourself. That’s an enormous solo undertaking and pretty uncommon in high-end TV today. I imagine it’s rather daunting to think about doing it all over again — especially with the whole world watching now?

Yeah, I mean, as you said, this was a nine-episode series and I was the only one who was writing the scripts and directing the whole thing, so it was a really physically, mentally, emotionally challenging task. And the story doesn’t exactly have the simplest concept, so as we were going along, new ideas were coming to me, or I would see flaws that I felt needed to be corrected, so I was, in fact, revising the script as I was filming the whole series. So that’s partly why I had a huge amount of stress, which led to me losing six teeth during production, which I’ve mentioned in some other interviews.

And you’re right, the pressure on me is huge now, with such a big audience waiting for a season two. Because of all that pressure, I haven’t decided yet whether or not I should do another season. But if you look at it in a positive way, because so many people loved season one and are expecting good things for season two, there are people everywhere in the world offering their opinions about where the show should go. I could actually pull ideas from fans all around the world to create the next season. I think that’s what I’m wrestling with right now — that I shouldn’t just view it as a huge amount of pressure, but think of all of this love and support I’m receiving as a big box of inspiration that I can leverage for season two.

OK, last question: You mentioned earlier that when you were broke and bummed out 10 years ago, reading Battle Royale manga in cafes, you thought that if a real-life death game existed with a big cash prize, you would love to play it as a potential escape from your problems. At this point in your life, if Squid Game really existed, would you call the number on the card and sign up?

(Laughs.) Well, if I were in Il-nam’s shoes — the old man with the brain tumor who has only a year or two to live — I would probably seriously consider it.

Interview has been edited for length and clarity.
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-news/squid-game-creator-season-2-meaning-1235030617/
It is very interesting
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
This a game thread? Not sure that I understand how this thread is played. Can someone please 'splain it to me? Thanks in advance
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
Since I'm interested in (South) Korean culture but pay virtually zero attention to K-pop and -dramas I try to catch up on Korean movies that get screened stateside, let alone become such worldwide phenomenons as Parasite and this show, but after reading synopses of the latter that make most slasher flicks sound like mere warm-ups I've refused to join the 111 million people who have reportedly turned it into Netflix's most-watched series ever. And I'm still waiting to hear a single grown-up reason why I should rethink my stance. (The feeblest attempt may belong to Slate's Rebecca Onion, who likes to think of herself as a scholar of American history and culture but whose cursory review fails to pinpoint any edifying feature of this show that makes it such a must-see.)

A disturbing trend in today's "serious" cinema and TV is to assume a new social critique cannot make its full impact without violating our senses, and South Korea's, I'm sorry to say, may well be the industry that takes that dubious philosophy to its bloodiest heart. (The one notable exception to the SK model is the arthouse films of Hong Sang-soo, but his often absurdly elliptical approach presents its own issues.) And while one may try to distinguish between the supposedly high-minded documentaries of Joshua Oppenheimer and the puerile revenge fantasies of Tarantino or even the latest Palme d'Or winner Titane - it's well past time to expand or find different ways to diversify the Cannes jury - such hairsplitting is ultimately moot when it's not preceded by any cogent explanation as to why we need these shocks to our system to begin with when past masters could tell us more about our current world without resorting to ultraviolent theatrics. Case in point: NYT's Mike Hale somehow finds time to single out Park Chan-wook and Kim Ki-duk as Korean auteurs operating on higher wavelengths than Hwang Dong-hyuk even though I fail to see how their "stylistic panache and mordant wit" supersede their visions of the world as a nonstop video game.

In fact I remain skeptical of any so-called cultural criticism that insists we owe it to ourselves to keep up with the latest hit, viral sensation and the like. I don't "need" to have seen the new superhero movie to know it's for the teenage and perpetually adolescent demographics. Ditto the new 007 flick, boy band, "reality" show, meme, etc. I don't necessarily object to adults partaking in such juvenile entertainment because we all need some silly fun (yes, even moi), but to expect us to invest almost half a day in this blood-soaked imitation of the very thing it claims to critique? It's not snobbish or elitist to say we've got better things to do.

I'll leave y'all with a recent import from SK that does manage to thrill while also casting light on little-visited contemporary history:


Obviously the recent clusterf*ck in Afghanistan lends this political action thriller eerie relevance - I suspect that largely explains why it ran for an impressive 2-3 months at my local Regal (I saw at least two non-Korean viewers at a Tuesday afternoon screening, I'd say out of a dozen or so) - but I can also say I've yet to encounter a more frightening moment in this year's movies than the clearly intentional (if brief) scene of Somali child solders playing with their rifles pointed at the Korean families trying to flee the hellish civil war. You won't be surprised to hear that the rest of the movie doesn't begin to touch its high point, but anyone who's seen Ryoo Seung-wan's previous 2017 feature The Battleship Island (my first and only exposure to his oeuvre) can expect perhaps even better action set pieces here, particularly the late car sequence which given its stakes and unusual damage control (you'll know what I mean) may well be the craziest I've seen.

And Escape from Mogadishu even manages to avoid the dangerous pitfall of pitting moderate and radical Korean nationalism against each other. As B.R. Myers points out in his invaluable commentary on the two Koreas, too many South Korean blockbusters tend to portray North Koreans as purer and plain cooler than their own and NK defectors as villains, which reflects divided Korea's divided nationalism rather than divided ideologies as in East and West Germany where liberal democracy jockeyed with communism for power. Needless to say this is an irresponsibly naive worldview in a world where the Kim dynasty's serious designs on the South are not only unrecognized by the Western press but quite possibly welcomed by South Koreans themselves under more advantageous circumstances, and for an action flick, even one that concerns itself with the cooperation of South and North Korean protagonists, to thread this needle is no small achievement.

I'm still not convinced that this is the best film SK had to offer as its (Best International Feature) Oscar contender, but if that can help steer Squid Game viewers in the right direction I'm all for it. I see that only Spectrum customers can rent it for now, but more streaming platforms are bound to follow in the offing so look out for the title on your usual destinations.
 

Mike Bulgakov

G.O.A.T.
Since I'm interested in (South) Korean culture but pay virtually zero attention to K-pop and -dramas I try to catch up on Korean movies that get screened stateside, let alone become such worldwide phenomenons as Parasite and this show, but after reading synopses of the latter that make most slasher flicks sound like mere warm-ups I've refused to join the 111 million people who have reportedly turned it into Netflix's most-watched series ever. And I'm still waiting to hear a single grown-up reason why I should rethink my stance. (The feeblest attempt may belong to Slate's Rebecca Onion, who likes to think of herself as a scholar of American history and culture but whose cursory review fails to pinpoint any edifying feature of this show that makes it such a must-see.)

A disturbing trend in today's "serious" cinema and TV is to assume a new social critique cannot make its full impact without violating our senses, and South Korea's, I'm sorry to say, may well be the industry that takes that dubious philosophy to its bloodiest heart. (The one notable exception to the SK model is the arthouse films of Hong Sang-soo, but his often absurdly elliptical approach presents its own issues.) And while one may try to distinguish between the supposedly high-minded documentaries of Joshua Oppenheimer and the puerile revenge fantasies of Tarantino or even the latest Palme d'Or winner Titane - it's well past time to expand or find different ways to diversify the Cannes jury - such hairsplitting is ultimately moot when it's not preceded by any cogent explanation as to why we need these shocks to our system to begin with when past masters could tell us more about our current world without resorting to ultraviolent theatrics. Case in point: NYT's Mike Hale somehow finds time to single out Park Chan-wook and Kim Ki-duk as Korean auteurs operating on higher wavelengths than Hwang Dong-hyuk even though I fail to see how their "stylistic panache and mordant wit" supersede their visions of the world as a nonstop video game.

In fact I remain skeptical of any so-called cultural criticism that insists we owe it to ourselves to keep up with the latest hit, viral sensation and the like. I don't "need" to have seen the new superhero movie to know it's for the teenage and perpetually adolescent demographics. Ditto the new 007 flick, boy band, "reality" show, meme, etc. I don't necessarily object to adults partaking in such juvenile entertainment because we all need some silly fun (yes, even moi), but to expect us to invest almost half a day in this blood-soaked imitation of the very thing it claims to critique? It's not snobbish or elitist to say we've got better things to do.

I'll leave y'all with a recent import from SK that does manage to thrill while also casting light on little-visited contemporary history:


Obviously the recent clusterf*ck in Afghanistan lends this political action thriller eerie relevance - I suspect that largely explains why it ran for an impressive 2-3 months at my local Regal (I saw at least two non-Korean viewers at a Tuesday afternoon screening, I'd say out of a dozen or so) - but I can also say I've yet to encounter a more frightening moment in this year's movies than the clearly intentional (if brief) scene of Somali child solders playing with their rifles pointed at the Korean families trying to flee the hellish civil war. You won't be surprised to hear that the rest of the movie doesn't begin to touch its high point, but anyone who's seen Ryoo Seung-wan's previous 2017 feature The Battleship Island (my first and only exposure to his oeuvre) can expect perhaps even better action set pieces here, particularly the late car sequence which given its stakes and unusual damage control (you'll know what I mean) may well be the craziest I've seen.

And Escape from Mogadishu even manages to avoid the dangerous pitfall of pitting moderate and radical Korean nationalism against each other. As B.R. Myers points out in his invaluable commentary on the two Koreas, too many South Korean blockbusters tend to portray North Koreans as purer and plain cooler than their own and NK defectors as villains, which reflects divided Korea's divided nationalism rather than divided ideologies as in East and West Germany where liberal democracy jockeyed with communism for power. Needless to say this is an irresponsibly naive worldview in a world where the Kim dynasty's serious designs on the South are not only unrecognized by the Western press but quite possibly welcomed by South Koreans themselves under more advantageous circumstances, and for an action flick, even one that concerns itself with the cooperation of South and North Korean protagonists, to thread this needle is no small achievement.

I'm still not convinced that this is the best film SK had to offer as its (Best International Feature) Oscar contender, but if that can help steer Squid Game viewers in the right direction I'm all for it. I see that only Spectrum customers can rent it for now, but more streaming platforms are bound to follow in the offing so look out for the title on your usual destinations.
Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ Is Slammed by Kim Jong Un’s Propagandists as ‘Beastly’
The popular show depicts a South Korean society where ‘only money matters,’ a North Korean propaganda site says
By Dasl Yoon
Oct. 13, 2021 5:15 am ET


SEOUL—“Squid Game,” Netflix Inc.’s NFLX -0.70% dystopian drama set in South Korea, is the top-watched show in more than 90 countries.

But one nation isn’t giving rave reviews: North Korea.

A North Korean propaganda website, Arirang Meari, reported on what the international response has been to the South Korean survival drama. Viewers have been drawn to a show that highlights the “sad reality of a beastly South Korean society” that adheres to the “law of the jungle,” the Tuesday article says.

“‘Squid Game’ gained popularity because it exposes the reality of South Korean capitalist culture,” the article says. The show illustrates “a world where only money matters—a hell-like horror.”

The story of “Squid Game” revolves around financially strapped adults playing traditional South Korean children’s games on a secluded island for a cash prize of about $40 million. The losers die. The games shown in “Squid Game” aren’t widely played in North Korea, defectors say.

On Wednesday, Netflix said “Squid Game” has attracted 111 million viewers globally since its Sept. 17 debut, leapfrogging the 82 million people who watched “Bridgerton,” making it the company’s largest-ever series launch. By Netflix’s metrics, anyone who watches a show for more than two minutes is considered a viewer.

In an interview late last month, Hwang Dong-hyuk, the director of “Squid Game,” said he wanted the show to examine how the global wealth gap is widening.

“The rich are becoming richer, while the poor become poorer,” Mr. Hwang said. “It’s a story anyone could relate to.”
https://www.wsj.com/articles/netfli...jong-uns-propagandists-as-beastly-11634116531
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
Since I'm interested in (South) Korean culture but pay virtually zero attention to K-pop and -dramas I try to catch up on Korean movies that get screened stateside, let alone become such worldwide phenomenons as Parasite and this show, but after reading synopses of the latter that make most slasher flicks sound like mere warm-ups I've refused to join the 111 million people who have reportedly turned it into Netflix's most-watched series ever. And I'm still waiting to hear a single grown-up reason why I should rethink my stance. (The feeblest attempt may belong to Slate's Rebecca Onion, who likes to think of herself as a scholar of American history and culture but whose cursory review fails to pinpoint any edifying feature of this show that makes it such a must-see.)

A disturbing trend in today's "serious" cinema and TV is to assume a new social critique cannot make its full impact without violating our senses, and South Korea's, I'm sorry to say, may well be the industry that takes that dubious philosophy to its bloodiest heart. (The one notable exception to the SK model is the arthouse films of Hong Sang-soo, but his often absurdly elliptical approach presents its own issues.) And while one may try to distinguish between the supposedly high-minded documentaries of Joshua Oppenheimer and the puerile revenge fantasies of Tarantino or even the latest Palme d'Or winner Titane - it's well past time to expand or find different ways to diversify the Cannes jury - such hairsplitting is ultimately moot when it's not preceded by any cogent explanation as to why we need these shocks to our system to begin with when past masters could tell us more about our current world without resorting to ultraviolent theatrics. Case in point: NYT's Mike Hale somehow finds time to single out Park Chan-wook and Kim Ki-duk as Korean auteurs operating on higher wavelengths than Hwang Dong-hyuk even though I fail to see how their "stylistic panache and mordant wit" supersede their visions of the world as a nonstop video game.

In fact I remain skeptical of any so-called cultural criticism that insists we owe it to ourselves to keep up with the latest hit, viral sensation and the like. I don't "need" to have seen the new superhero movie to know it's for the teenage and perpetually adolescent demographics. Ditto the new 007 flick, boy band, "reality" show, meme, etc. I don't necessarily object to adults partaking in such juvenile entertainment because we all need some silly fun (yes, even moi), but to expect us to invest almost half a day in this blood-soaked imitation of the very thing it claims to critique? It's not snobbish or elitist to say we've got better things to do.

I'll leave y'all with a recent import from SK that does manage to thrill while also casting light on little-visited contemporary history:


Obviously the recent clusterf*ck in Afghanistan lends this political action thriller eerie relevance - I suspect that largely explains why it ran for an impressive 2-3 months at my local Regal (I saw at least two non-Korean viewers at a Tuesday afternoon screening, I'd say out of a dozen or so) - but I can also say I've yet to encounter a more frightening moment in this year's movies than the clearly intentional (if brief) scene of Somali child solders playing with their rifles pointed at the Korean families trying to flee the hellish civil war. You won't be surprised to hear that the rest of the movie doesn't begin to touch its high point, but anyone who's seen Ryoo Seung-wan's previous 2017 feature The Battleship Island (my first and only exposure to his oeuvre) can expect perhaps even better action set pieces here, particularly the late car sequence which given its stakes and unusual damage control (you'll know what I mean) may well be the craziest I've seen.

And Escape from Mogadishu even manages to avoid the dangerous pitfall of pitting moderate and radical Korean nationalism against each other. As B.R. Myers points out in his invaluable commentary on the two Koreas, too many South Korean blockbusters tend to portray North Koreans as purer and plain cooler than their own and NK defectors as villains, which reflects divided Korea's divided nationalism rather than divided ideologies as in East and West Germany where liberal democracy jockeyed with communism for power. Needless to say this is an irresponsibly naive worldview in a world where the Kim dynasty's serious designs on the South are not only unrecognized by the Western press but quite possibly welcomed by South Koreans themselves under more advantageous circumstances, and for an action flick, even one that concerns itself with the cooperation of South and North Korean protagonists, to thread this needle is no small achievement.

I'm still not convinced that this is the best film SK had to offer as its (Best International Feature) Oscar contender, but if that can help steer Squid Game viewers in the right direction I'm all for it. I see that only Spectrum customers can rent it for now, but more streaming platforms are bound to follow in the offing so look out for the title on your usual destinations.
I agree with a lot of this, and the more I hear about it the more happy I am that I couldn't care less.
 

Mike Bulgakov

G.O.A.T.
There are quite literally 25 Korean film productions (TV and film) I would recommend to people before squid game and that’s just off the top of my head.
Despite enjoying Hwang's interview, I doubt I'll watch the series. Outside of films by the big name Korean directors, are there any Korean films you particularly recommend?
 
D

Deleted member 771911

Guest
I lived in Korea and eating live squid is a delicacy there. I’ll watch squid games eventually. Just see if I like it, can’t really judge it if you haven’t even tried it.
 

Mike Bulgakov

G.O.A.T.
There are quite literally 25 Korean film productions (TV and film) I would recommend to people before squid game and that’s just off the top of my head.
A friend recommended a couple of Im Sang-soo films. Do you like his films?

By the time 2000 rolled around, I had probably seen 50+ films from Japan, but none from South Korea. It was only recently that I started exploring South Korean films. Kim Jong Il was a major film buff and loved Hollywood films. That seems like an exploitable interest that intelligence agencies could have cultivated to direct him in a more pro-Western direction.

The only North Korean film I'm familiar with is "Pulgasari" by South Korean filmmaker Shin Sang-ok. Kim Jong Il kidnapped him (and his actress wife) to make films in North Korea.

 
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Sudacafan

Bionic Poster
Can I please have brief and concise arguments about why I should or I should not watch this?
No more than 50 words. Bullets will help.
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ Is Slammed by Kim Jong Un’s Propagandists as ‘Beastly’
The popular show depicts a South Korean society where ‘only money matters,’ a North Korean propaganda site says
By Dasl Yoon
Oct. 13, 2021 5:15 am ET


SEOUL—“Squid Game,” Netflix Inc.’s NFLX -0.70% dystopian drama set in South Korea, is the top-watched show in more than 90 countries.

But one nation isn’t giving rave reviews: North Korea.

A North Korean propaganda website, Arirang Meari, reported on what the international response has been to the South Korean survival drama. Viewers have been drawn to a show that highlights the “sad reality of a beastly South Korean society” that adheres to the “law of the jungle,” the Tuesday article says.

“‘Squid Game’ gained popularity because it exposes the reality of South Korean capitalist culture,” the article says. The show illustrates “a world where only money matters—a hell-like horror.”

The story of “Squid Game” revolves around financially strapped adults playing traditional South Korean children’s games on a secluded island for a cash prize of about $40 million. The losers die. The games shown in “Squid Game” aren’t widely played in North Korea, defectors say.

On Wednesday, Netflix said “Squid Game” has attracted 111 million viewers globally since its Sept. 17 debut, leapfrogging the 82 million people who watched “Bridgerton,” making it the company’s largest-ever series launch. By Netflix’s metrics, anyone who watches a show for more than two minutes is considered a viewer.

In an interview late last month, Hwang Dong-hyuk, the director of “Squid Game,” said he wanted the show to examine how the global wealth gap is widening.

“The rich are becoming richer, while the poor become poorer,” Mr. Hwang said. “It’s a story anyone could relate to.”
https://www.wsj.com/articles/netfli...jong-uns-propagandists-as-beastly-11634116531
It doesn't take a Bazin to realize that there's something wrong with a show that makes the Kim regime's talking points for him.

There are quite literally 25 Korean film productions (TV and film) I would recommend to people before squid game and that’s just off the top of my head.
When I noted the one exception (Hong Sang-soo) to "the SK model" I neglected to include Lee Chang-dong, probably the best Korean filmmaker alive whose Burning (2018) made a small splash but takes a back seat to Poetry (2010), Secret Sunshine (2007) and perhaps one or two more of his six features (the rest of which I've yet to see).

A friend recommended a couple of Im Sang-soo films. Do you like his films?

By the time 2000 rolled around, I had probably seen 50+ films from Japan, but none from South Korea. It was only recently that I started exploring South Korean films. Kim Jong Il was a major film buff and loved Hollywood films. That seems like an exploitable interest that intelligence agencies could have cultivated to direct him in a more pro-Western direction.

The only North Korean film I'm familiar with is "Pulgasari" by South Korean filmmaker Shin Sang-ok. Kim Jong Il kidnapped him (and his actress wife) to make films in North Korea.

Im is another South Korean movie brat. Saw last year his cartoonish 2010 remake of Kim Ki-young's 1960 classic The Housemaid which is superior in every way imaginable, and his next feature The Taste of Money (2012), which I probably would've skipped if it didn't star Youn Yuh-jung, is very much in the same bratty sock-it-to-'em vein. The middle-aged poseur seems to think of himself as his nation's Bauldelaire when he's anything but.

Flash Drives for Freedom is a real thing that has made real impact in NK so I doubt SK spooks exploiting SK media would've made that big a difference. There's a reason why the Kim regime and more recently the CPP have been trying to ban what they believe to be threats from SK's decadent culture.
 

Sudacafan

Bionic Poster
It doesn't take a Bazin to realize that there's something wrong with a show that makes the Kim regime's talking points for him.
I think this is a fairly strong reason why not to watch it, but I’m not sure I would resist anyway. I need a little more reassurance.
Kim is my favorite non sci fi villain (though I’m not 100% sure he’s not non sci fi).
 
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Teslar

Rookie
I watched two episodes and it was very bloody. I am not fan of bloody or gruesome scenes. I'd rather to watch love story, but it is very interesting show regardless.
I am trying to resist the temptation of watching it but I don't think I can hold off that long.
 

Lleytonstation

G.O.A.T.
Can I please have brief and concise arguments about why I should or I should not watch this?
No more than 50 words. Bullets will help.
  • Unoriginal
  • Subtitles or Godzilla voice overs
  • Terrible acting
  • Not believable
  • No likeable characters
  • No Siberian huskies
  • Other people think it is good
  • No pizza in it
Basically a hard no. Was like watching Ivo Karlovic playing Isner on clay. You don't care who wins or how, boring to watch, it could go to a 5th set TB and you would have no issues turning it off after 5 hours of watching the match and never know who won, and lastly... When it is over, you realized you were actually watching Opelka play Anderson and thinking to yourself... Karlovic and Isner would be a good match on clay.
 

Sudacafan

Bionic Poster
I watched two episodes and it was very bloody. I am not fan of bloody or gruesome scenes. I'd rather to watch love story, but it is very interesting show regardless.
I am trying to resist the temptation of watching it but I don't think I can hold off that long.
Do you like wrestling?
 

Sudacafan

Bionic Poster
  • Unoriginal
  • Subtitles or Godzilla voice overs
  • Terrible acting
  • Not believable
  • No likeable characters
  • No Siberian huskies
  • Other people think it is good
  • No pizza in it
Basically a hard no. Was like watching Ivo Karlovic playing Isner on clay. You don't care who wins or how, boring to watch, it could go to a 5th set TB and you would have no issues turning it off after 5 hours of watching the match and never know who won, and lastly... When it is over, you realized you were actually watching Opelka play Anderson and thinking to yourself... Karlovic and Isner would be a good match on clay.
Thanks. This will be a big success.

P/S: thanks for the bullets.
 

Kralingen

Legend
Despite enjoying Hwang's interview, I doubt I'll watch the series. Outside of films by the big name Korean directors, are there any Korean films you particularly recommend?
First of all I think Memories of Murder (I know it’s Bong’s film, but lesser known in the US) would be my first 24 recommendations. Handmaiden would be my 25th. Both exceptional and my favorite films from both even over Parasite and Oldboy.

what Korean cinema captures exceptionally, moreso than any other country of filmmakers, is a quiet intensity underpinning stories. Many of the below films stand out to me for their utter commitment to the theme and experience of the characters: revenge (no one does revenge like Korean directors) consuming someone wholly, love (romance films are some of my favorite ever) and I have rarely felt that a K-film was condescending or attempting to take an unneeded leap. The K-drama TV shows are more like soaps that throw the kitchen sink of emotion and twists at you, though, but they do romance in such a realistic and intimate way I can’t help but respect

in no order just off my watchlist that I’ve seen:
Thirst (ok this is park chan-wook but it’s vampires and fun)
The Wailing (Incroyable, 10/10, just watch)
I saw the Devil (Kim Jee-Woon is not as full of depth as some directors but this delivers)
A Bittersweet Life (gangster, thriller, delivers)
The Net (thought-provoking, brilliant)
Burning (I expect you’ve seen this)
Pieta
3 iron (transcendent, a meditation on belief)
Oasis (Chang Dong Lee is on the level of bong/park)
Secret Sunshine (see above)
The Foul King and Taxi (Song Kang-Ho is one of the best male actors alive)
Welcome to Dongmakgol
My Sassy Girl (lol)
Always
Breathless (writer lead actor and director are all the same guy I believe)
Microhabit (nothing happens and yet everything happens, brilliant)
Castaway on the Moon

Terrace House is the best reality TV I’ve seen and I loved the Reply series as well (1988

I find that a lot of Korean movies invoke feelings of slight deja vu of American counterparts, there are of course actual remakes (the Chaser was remade, as was Oldboy) but The Scent = Basic Instinct, New World = the Departed, The Man from Nowhere = Taken, the world of us=Linklater, and a few others off the top of my head.

spent a lot of time with Korean films but didn’t realize this much. I highly recommend all of the above though and that’s not an exaggeration.
 

Mike Bulgakov

G.O.A.T.
First of all I think Memories of Murder (I know it’s Bong’s film, but lesser known in the US) would be my first 24 recommendations. Handmaiden would be my 25th. Both exceptional and my favorite films from both even over Parasite and Oldboy.

what Korean cinema captures exceptionally, moreso than any other country of filmmakers, is a quiet intensity underpinning stories. Many of the below films stand out to me for their utter commitment to the theme and experience of the characters: revenge (no one does revenge like Korean directors) consuming someone wholly, love (romance films are some of my favorite ever) and I have rarely felt that a K-film was condescending or attempting to take an unneeded leap. The K-drama TV shows are more like soaps that throw the kitchen sink of emotion and twists at you, though, but they do romance in such a realistic and intimate way I can’t help but respect

in no order just off my watchlist that I’ve seen:
Thirst (ok this is park chan-wook but it’s vampires and fun)
The Wailing (Incroyable, 10/10, just watch)
I saw the Devil (Kim Jee-Woon is not as full of depth as some directors but this delivers)
A Bittersweet Life (gangster, thriller, delivers)
The Net (thought-provoking, brilliant)
Burning (I expect you’ve seen this)
Pieta
3 iron (transcendent, a meditation on belief)
Oasis (Chang Dong Lee is on the level of bong/park)
Secret Sunshine (see above)
The Foul King and Taxi (Song Kang-Ho is one of the best male actors alive)
Welcome to Dongmakgol
My Sassy Girl (lol)
Always
Breathless (writer lead actor and director are all the same guy I believe)
Microhabit (nothing happens and yet everything happens, brilliant)
Castaway on the Moon

Terrace House is the best reality TV I’ve seen and I loved the Reply series as well (1988

I find that a lot of Korean movies invoke feelings of slight deja vu of American counterparts, there are of course actual remakes (the Chaser was remade, as was Oldboy) but The Scent = Basic Instinct, New World = the Departed, The Man from Nowhere = Taken, the world of us=Linklater, and a few others off the top of my head.

spent a lot of time with Korean films but didn’t realize this much. I highly recommend all of the above though and that’s not an exaggeration.
Thanks--great list. I want to explore Korean filmmaking and haven't seen most of these. I'll try to see "The Wailing" and "Bittersweet" for sure, maybe this weekend, and look up some of the other films mentioned.
 

Sudacafan

Bionic Poster
The last seasons (especially the last one, which I didn’t have the nerve to watch) have become children entertainment.
 

Mike Bulgakov

G.O.A.T.
This is from today's Los Angeles Times:

The seedy world of private lending in ‘Squid Game’ is a real temptation in South Korea
BY VICTORIA KIMSTAFF WRITER
OCT. 16, 2021 3 AM PT
SEOUL —

The business card, tossed with expert precision from a motorcycle as it sped away, landed at Park Chui-woo’s feet just as he was nearing the end of his wits.

The brightly colored card advertised quick low-interest loans, especially to small business owners. Maxed out on all other lines of credit and with payday looming for the employees of his small chain of coffee shops, Park dialed the phone number.
With that call three years ago, he entered the underground world of illegal private lending that tempts desperate South Koreans, then ensnares them with crippling interest rates, oppressive collection methods and a slippery slope leading to more debt.
Soon, motorcycle-riding, tatted-up skinheads showed up to talk terms with Park. They dropped off a wad of cash and began coming by his store daily to collect interest, at an annualized rate of about 210%.

“You really have no other choice,” said Park, 45, who has been borrowing from private loan sharks for about three years and has had to increase the sum after the COVID-19 pandemic gutted sales at his coffee shops. “It can send you down a sand-pit trap.”

Debt is the primary motivator for characters in the Netflix hit “Squid Game,” a dystopian drama series in which 456 participants who are heavy in debt fight to the death — literally — for a chance at a life-changing windfall of 45.6 billion won (about $40 million).

The South Korean series has resonated worldwide, tapping into growing economic fears and becoming the streaming service’s most popular release to date, with 111 million views in the first 28 days. At home, though, the show’s popularity has been inseparable from the country’s very real crisis of mounting household debt, gaping inequality and a weak social safety net with significant blind spots.

South Korea’s household debt ballooned to record levels in the second quarter of 2021, jumping by more than 10% from the same period last year. Citizens in their 30s are the most heavily leveraged, having borrowed on average more than 260% of their income, according to the Bank of Korea. Soaring real estate prices and last year’s stock market surge have fueled borrowing, incentivizing young adults who see less promise in traditional employment and have turned to investing heavily in stocks or cryptocurrencies.

South Korea’s shadowy lending business is hard to quantify but appears ubiquitous. Cards and fliers advertising quick cash are readily seen on subway cars, bus stops and lamp posts. The government regulator, Financial Supervisory Service, received nearly 300,000 reports of illegal lending advertisements in 2020. That was an increase of about 25% from the previous year, undoubtedly spurred by pandemic-related layoffs and business restrictions that pushed the already vulnerable deeper into financial straits.

The Seoul-based industry group Consumer Loan Finance Assn. said it mediated more than 5,000 reported high-interest loan cases last year, in which the average annual interest charged was 401%. In one case in Gyeonggi province, which includes parts of the metropolitan area surrounding Seoul, the interest on a short-term loan amounted to 3,338% annualized, according to police.

“Murderous interest rates are being charged beneath the surface,” said Seo Bo-kuk, a senior manager at the Consumer Loan Finance Assn. “It becomes a domino effect, and many people end up turning to it again and again.”

Contracts that call for a kidney or eyeball in lieu of repayment are an intimidation tactic of yore and are no longer common, industry officials say. Even so, they are depicted in “Squid Game” and other TV shows and movies, breeding fear among those indebted to scurrilous lenders. The richest man in South Korea, Seo Jung-jin, founder of biopharmaceutical company Celltrion, has said in interviews that he had to sign away his organs as collateral to borrow from loan sharks to keep his company afloat following the Asian financial crisis of the early 2000s.

“My debt wouldn’t be covered even if I sold all my organs,” said Park, the coffee shop owner, who noted that his lenders have never brought up such pledges.
https://www.latimes.com/world-natio...me-is-a-real-temptation-in-todays-south-korea
 

Mike Bulgakov

G.O.A.T.
The Wailing (Incroyable, 10/10, just watch)
I watched the “The Waiting” as a late night film in the Halloween spirit. Great film.

The slow-developing storyline didn’t draw me in until around the 50 minute mark, but my patience really paid off with a very satisfying film. It reminded me of Kubrick’s “The Shining” in this respect, as well as its use of color palette and disquieting camera movement to build tension.

I actually did a brief search on Korean religious history this morning. I once learned about Altai shamanism, and understood that shamanism was practiced in Japan and Korea before the arrival of more recent religions like Buddhism, but didn’t know how much remnants still permeated Korean society. The film is brilliantly haunted by major influences on the Korean psyche, like a ghostly Japanese antagonist, shamanism, and Christianity.
 

jga111

Hall of Fame
It’s really good. Actually it’s quite illuminating when you analyse the characters, the challenges. The lower your “class” in life - the more you can relate to it. Life is one tough female dog
 

Poisoned Slice

Bionic Poster
Netflix fans really do get obsessed with the most run of the mill stuff. I swear over half of its base have never read a single book with the things they constantly find profound or 'new'.
Cursed was great, man. Best show of all time, dude. Netflix really brought it this time.

''If you were hoping for Cursed season 2, bad news — Netflix canceled the fantasy drama series. Cursed was based on Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler's graphic novel.''

Ohhhhhhh. Well, it did have that one scene.
 

Fozz

New User
Squid Game was entertaining. I though they did well to emphasize human nature towards their desire for money and what happens when you do have money.

yes, it’s gory, but nothing like other films/series. IMO, give it a try.
 

Sudacafan

Bionic Poster
Today I started to view it as I did not have anything better to do.
20 minutes later, I found something to do.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
People get killed over a pair of sneakers, desperate people with nothing to lose will surely participate for the prospect of winning $38.7 million.
but you know going in that your chance of dying is astronomically high. Would you participate even with that kind of odds ? I think your chance of dying is even higher than it would be if you went to war for your country
 

Sudacafan

Bionic Poster
Squid Game $38.7 million vs La Casa de Papel's [the professor's Money Heist] printing €2.4 billion.
I am hereby apologizing to the people involved in those series for not contributing with my grain of sand to their financial success.
Except for the first season of Money Heist (ruined by the "Hollywood turn" that the series suffered after Netflix bought it), all of these is forgettable.
 

Vcore89

G.O.A.T.
I am hereby apologizing to the people involved in those series for not contributing with my grain of sand to their financial success.
Except for the first season of Money Heist (ruined by the "Hollywood turn" that the series suffered after Netflix bought it), all of these is forgettable.
Compañeiro, you struck a nerve ''exactly'' right there.
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
Finished watching it. That was depressing at times, especially the first few episodes.


It has its moments for sure, but ultimately it is a just another knock off of the legendary Battle Royale series. And yes, Hunger Games ripped Battle Royale off also, that is still the original and best.
 

Dags

Hall of Fame
Watched a few episodes with dubbing. The dubbing is truly, truly awful. It's a different series in Korean with subs. The emotion conveyed by the original actors is completely lost when dubbed. I wasn't particularly fond of the final half hour, but the journey to get there was worth watching.
 
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