The Netflix smash hit Squid Game topped streaming charts worldwide in 2021 and found critical success for its biting social commentary and class critique. The show follows Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae), a down-on-his-luck debtor invited to a mysterious underground game that promises considerable wealth to one lucky winner. Hundreds of similarly destitute players compete in familiar children’s games like Red Light, Green Light and tug of war, only to realize the lethal stakes when one loses a game. The only way to win is to outlast other players and follow the rules enforced by the masked guards led by a shady organization. Joined by his childhood friend Cho Sang-woo (Park Hae-soo), Gi-hun encounters a motley crew of Korea’s underclass, including North Korean defector Kang Sae-byeok (HoYeon Jung), migrant worker Abdul Ali (Anupam Tripathi), petty gangster Jang Deok-su (Heo Sung-tae), and the elderly man Oh Il-nam (O Yeong-su). Striking production design and powerful performances elevate Squid Game’s dark allegory of class struggle, wealth disparity, and the ravages of capitalism, and the show offers resonant commentary on our contemporary society.
For this special hybrid event, the Pollock Theater offered an in-person screening of Squid Game episode 6, “Gganbu.” Following the screening, Squid Game production designer Chae Kyoung-sun joined moderator Rita Raley (English, UCSB) and interpreter Eunjin Choi in a virtual post-screening discussion of the show.
This event is sponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Center.
CWC Presents: Global TV
Television has traditionally been understood through national frameworks, corresponding to national networks of television distribution. The Carsey-Wolf Center series “Global TV” explores the way some contemporary television programs and formats have become unmoored from their national contexts of production and distribution. The series will spotlight a number of recent shows that showcase this phenomenon, including a French heist caper, a South African vigilante thriller, and a crime drama set at the epicenter of political and social change in twenties Berlin; each of these shows both transcends and is rooted in its national context and culture. The events in the series will examine how and why a particular program might travel and take hold with an international audience, addressing questions about the role of contemporary streaming services and global flows of creative labor.
Media are global by nature; they express culture just as much as they transcend borders. The CWC Global series is dedicated to showcasing media from around the world. This series features screenings and events that place UCSB in conversation with international media makers and global contexts across our deeply connected world.
In recognition of the extraordinary accomplishments of the Center’s namesakes, Dick Wolf and Marcy Carsey, the Carsey-Wolf Center is committed to examining television as an institution, industry, and cultural form. In our post-network, multi-channel, multi-media environment, understanding television demands understanding its past as well as its future, through exploration of individual episodes, mini-series, and documentaries.