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Squid Game: The Wonder of Foreign Media

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Netflix’s Squid Game is set to become the streaming platform’s most popular series – ever. We’ve seen this before with plenty of other media; movies and shows like Bird Box and You quickly took over the internet upon their release. But with Squid Game, it is the one-inch line at the bottom of the screen that singles out this show as particularly phenomenal. 

English language media has long dominated the international film industry, and it’s for good reason. As a lingua franca, English-language films have been the most consumed by international audiences. Its profitability, quite literally, speaks for itself. It is in the top seventy-five highest-grossing films of all time, in the list of highest-paid actors, etc. The arrival of Squid Game, however, debunks the long-held belief of film studios that massive success can only come with English films. 

Squid Game is new, fresh, and unapologetically foreign. The show is unlike anything audiences have seen before. It strategically explores capitalism and by association – exploitation, socioeconomic classes, and the human psyche when struggling with despair. The show is also aesthetically pleasing; pastel-colored sets and beautiful cinematography are paired with gore-filled scenes. These juxtaposed aspects somehow work perfectly in sync to capture the essence of Squid Game. It does all this and more while introducing audiences to the Korean language and culture. And it is safe to say that it works. 

Squid Game’s success is not entirely the first of its kind, as it is part of a line of other ground-breaking foreign media. Parasite (Korea) famously won big at the Oscars in 2019, Money Heist (Spain) and Dark (Germany) racked up streaming numbers, and Les Inseparables (France) has become a classic. Squid Game is continuing upon the success of its predecessors. It has captured the world, now becoming part of a growing truth in the film industry: greatness can be found in foreign films. Audiences have spoken, and they clearly do not mind subtitles so long the media they consume is good and entertaining.

The show’s success will undoubtedly persuade major studios to invest in the foreign film market, and it’s the breadth of fresh air that we have all been waiting for. The current market for English films has become oversaturated with remakes and block-buster wannabes. We might just be at the beginning of a new chapter for Hollywood, and if we are so, we will be introduced to new and amazing storytelling. 

On that note, if you are looking for things to binge-watch, here is a list of great foreign films and TV shows to add to your bucket list.

  • Amelie, France (2001)
  • Spirited Away, Japan (2002)
  • La vie d’Adele / Blue Is The Warmest Color, France (2013)
  • 3%, Brazil (2016)
  • Train To Busan, Korea (2016)
  • Babylon Berlin, Germany (2017)
  • Un Sac de Billes/A Bag of Marbles, France (2017)
  • Roma, Mexico (2018)
  • Baby, Italy (2018)
  • Control Z, Mexico (2020)
Romelin is a third year undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in History and Economics with a concentration in Law & Society. Originally from Guatemala, she has have grown up in South Central Los Angeles, CA for the majority of her life. She aspires to be a practicing attorney, and occasionally delves into other passions like journalism and writing. She loves fashion, politics, traveling, and boba. You can catch her at Harry Style’s upcoming show for Love On Tour at the Forum.
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