Inspired by reality.

Most of the characters in

Squid Game

are inspired by the life of its director Hwang Dong-hyuk who, through them, wanted to denounce the excesses of capitalism, meeting a planetary echo.

Netflix's South Korean phenomenon series features hundreds of characters from South Korea's most marginalized fringes, participating in traditional games he played as a child.

The winners can take 33 million euros, the losers are killed.

Like Sang-woo, a troubled investment banker in

Squid Game

, Hwang Dong-hyuk graduated from the prestigious Seoul National University (SNU) but suffered financial problems.

Like Gi-hun, a laid-off employee and

die-hard

gamer, the filmmaker was raised by a widowed mother, living in poverty in partially basement accommodation like the one portrayed in

Parasite

, Bong Joon's Oscar-winning corrosive satire. ho.

"I didn't know what to do in the real world"

It was one of his first experiences abroad that inspired him to Ali, a Pakistani migrant worker abused and exploited by his Korean employer.

“Korean society is very competitive.

I had the chance to come out and go to a good university, ”says Hwang Dong-hyuk.

He studied journalism at the SNU and was active in the pro-democracy movement.

The main character of the series, Gi-hun, is named after one of his fellow wrestlers.

Once his diploma in hand, democracy was established.

“I didn't know what to do in the real world,” Hwang Dong-hyuk recalls.

At first, "watching movies was something I did to kill time."

Borrowing his mother's camera, he says he “discovered the joy of filming something and projecting it, and it changed my life.

"

"Anyone can fall to the bottom of the economic ladder"

Squid Game

refers to several collective traumas that have shaped South Korean mentalities today, such as the Asian financial crisis of 1997 or the layoffs of SsangYong Motor in 2009, two events that led to suicides.

"By referring to the layoffs of SsangYong Motor, I wanted to show that any middle class individual, in the world we live in today, can fall to the bottom of the economic ladder overnight," explains Hwang Dong-hyuk.

Our dossier on South Korea

Hwang Dong-hyuk wrote

Squid Game

a decade ago, but investors were reluctant and those who had read the script, he said, had deemed it "too absurd, bizarre and unrealistic."

But the rise of streaming platforms offered him new perspectives, even if he had never imagined becoming such a global phenomenon.

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