‘Squid Game’ director says audiences are “warming up” to foreign languages

"If there’s good content, the global audience is just waiting to watch it"

Squid Game director Hwang Dong-hyuk had spoken about how audiences are starting to open up to the idea of watching shows in other languages.

In a recent interview with IndieWire, Hwang shared how streaming services like Netflix have made it easier for foreign-language filmmakers to release their work internationally. He compared this to “older media”, such as theatres and television, which had a lot more “barriers”.

“Before, with older media, when one country’s filmmaker wanted to go to bring their film to another country, there were a lot of barriers with time and language,” Hwang said. “For example, if it’s a Korean movie venturing into the US market, we had to go to the film festivals and find a distributor in the US.”

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Hwang then noted how the prevalence of “streaming services and YouTube” have given content creators and filmmakers the “infrastructure” to take their works international. “I think now, if there’s good content, the global audience is just waiting to watch it,” he added.

However, the director did note that language barriers can still be a hurdle for some viewers, although one he believes will go away with time: “The only possible problem that’s left could be the language barrier, but I think people are warming up to that, as well.”

And it seems like Squid Game is certainly proof of Hwang’s sentiments. During an appearance at the Code 2021 conference, Netflix’s co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos spoke about the show’s popularity and impact last month, stating that there’s “a very good chance it’s going to be our [Netflix’s] biggest show ever”.

Despite Netflix’s unavailability in China, the Korean drama has also been gaining traction in the country as well, with recording over 1.7billion mentions on social media platform Weibo as of October 4.

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