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Squid Game creator Hwang Dong-hyuk: Series poses questions on competitive capitalism

Squid Game became the most-watched Netflix content of all time.

Aishwarya Vasudevan
Nov 20, 2021
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The creator of Squid Game, Hwang Dong-hyuk, has stated that the smash-hit Netflix series was created to raise questions about modern capitalist society, which places people in severe competition. According to Yonhap, Hwang remarked in an online speech at a discussion organised by SBS TV.

The director thought capitalism had exhibited its own limitations in the 21st century. Hwang shared that everyone is faced with extremely competitive situations, and if they fail to withstand the competition, they are dragged to the bottom of society.

In Squid Game, Gi-hun, played by Lee Jung-jae, is one of the victims of capitalist society, having struggled with company failures, divorce, and enormous indebtedness in order to win 45.6 billion won in prize money. But, despite the life-or-death pressure and the large quantity of money, he retains his humanity and shows pity for the less fortunate contestants.

At the end of the ninth and last episode, Gi-hun says by phone to those behind the mysterious competition that he is not a horse but a person. That's why he wants to know who those people are and how they can commit such atrocities against people. Gi-hun doesn't get on the plane to see his daughter in the US, but turns around to leave the airport. 

Talking about the same, the director said that through Gi-hun, he kept asking questions like, "Who made this competition system in society? Who drives them into a corner?" Hwang revealed that this is the question that he wants to ask everybody living in the midst of the pandemic in the 21st century.

The 50-year-old director added that violent sequences that the camera doesn't shy away from, such as pink soldiers shooting people dead, portray failures or losers in the competition in dramatic language, in keeping with his desire to depict capitalism in a genuine way.

He revealed that the show's violence appears to be very real, yet it is symbolic and allegorical. Further explaining, Hwang stated that it's a metaphor for people who have hit a brick wall after failing to thrive in a competitive culture.

Meanwhile, some schools in the US have cautioned parents about the show's potentially detrimental consequences or advised them to keep their children away from it. Hwang acknowledged that he was aware of the situation and requested that the parents of the children carefully explain the meaning of death and violence to their children.

He also mentioned that if there are teenagers who watched this show, we can talk to them about contemporary concerns in the culture. Hwang hopes parents will explain to their children that the violent moments in the show have their own meaning.

With an aggregate of 1.65 billion hours of viewing in the first four weeks of release on September 17, Squid Game became the most-watched Netflix content of all time.

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