Digital Media Concepts/"Gganbu." ''Squid Game'', season 1, episode 6

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Squid Game, created by Hwang Dong-hyuk, was originally released on September 17th, 2021 on Netflix. It is a Korean drama that took 10 years in the making and has already been watched by many viewers all over the world. The Netflix Original Series is currently ranked #1 in the U.S., and is the first Korean series to do so.[1] There are nine episodes of Squid Game so far, and each episode is roughly an hour long. Hundreds of contestants desperate for cash accept an invitation to play children's games. The cash prize is high and the stakes are deadly.

Squid Game logo

Film Set

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Squid Game was filmed in one city an hour outside of Seoul, South Korea.[2] Daejeon is a popular city for many South Korean films, and now Squid Game will be added to the archive. Before the official game for episode 6, we (the audience) are taken back in to the 4-dimension stairway set, which was an inspiration from the drawings of M.C. Escher. It seems like the main drawing inspiration was from a piece called Relativity. For episode 6, "Gganbu", the set was built to look like the old alleyway houses of a Korean neighborhood where it seems like many of the players grew up. (001), Oh Il-nam, said that he remembered living in one of the houses with his wife and son... so the set was made pretty well.

Definition of Gganbu

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Gganbu means "old and close friend". It also means "partner". When playing marbles, gganbu can still mean friend or partner.[3]

There was not a lot of CGI (or computer-generated imagery) used in the making of Squid Game. The director wanted the set to be as real as possible. The first episode, Red Light, Green Light, actually had over 400 people on set since there was an enormous amount of space for everyone to be together.[4] Many times where there are scenes that need a lot of people, they are added in with CGI. Throughout the episodes, people started to "filter" out... so it became easier to shoot (film) them. For the making of Episode 6, the main use of CGI was for the sunset background to demonstrate the "mood" of game four.

The Game

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In episode 6, the players are onto the fourth game, a marble game. The players are instructed to pair up, and because there are an odd number of people in this episode, one person gets "taken" away. The game is simple. Everyone is told to play any marble game of their choice, and each person has 10 marbles. There are no rules to this game except for one person to have all 20 marbles, both their own and their partner's. Whoever gets all the marbles within 30 minutes wins and moves on. Most duos choose to play odds or evens, which is a guessing game as to how many marbles one player has in their palm. That requires guessing whether the partner has an odd or even number of marbles in their hand. You are also "wagering" your own marbles. If guessed correctly, you get the amount that you wagered from your partner. Before knowing the game, the players were told to choose a partner. Many people assumed it would be a teamwork game and chose partners based on new friendships, known strengths, because they worked together in other games, and so on.

The Stories in Episode 6

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Episode 6 brought a lot of emotion out into many of the characters.

The main pairings:

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1. The elderly man, Oh Il-nam (001) and protagonist, Seong Gi-hun (456)

2. The "shady" businessman, Cho Sang-woo (218) and Pakistani immigrant, Ali Abdul (199)

3. North Korean escapee, Kang Sae-byeok (067) and "newly-made friend", Ji-yeong (240)

Summary and Film Notes of Episode 6: [5]

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1. "Gganbu" is mentioned in conversation between (001) and (456). Both men are reminded of their childhood where they used to play marbles as well. The lighting used in this episode is very warm-toned, and it tends to tell a story of "warm" and open-minded, even open-heartedness. Many of the players now understand that there can only be one winner from the marbles' game. After trying to play a fair game with (001), it seems that (001)'s dementia starts "kicking in", and (456) takes that to his advantage. He (456) understands that he is betraying his elderly friend, but he must do what he can to survive. At the end of viewing (001) and (456), 001 mentions that he knows he is being "manipulated" by (456).

2. (199) and (218) play odds or evens. (199) mentions that he does not know how to play, so (218) teaches because he used to play it in his own childhood. Ali (199) is one of the nicest players within the game. He is friendly to all and does not seem to hold anyone to a "lower" level or anything. That makes it fairly easy for the other players to manipulate him if needed. In this case, "other players" is Sang-woo (218). Ali and Sang-woo have been through the games together for a bit, even after leaving the game. Many of the up-close shots done by the camera crew really show that there is a sense of mystery as well as hesitancy within the characters' motives. Because the viewers are not physically on the film set watching, only what is shown in the camera is seen. That leaves time for the actors to do their "under-the-table" scenes and leave the rest up to the other actors and the viewers to figure out what happens next. (218) ends up tricking (199) with a promise of trust. Because of (199)'s nature to trust, he is definitely shocked and feels betrayed when he finds his own bag filled with pebbles instead of marbles.

3. This is a very thorough female-led scene shown in Episode 6. There are not many prolonged female-led scenes in the series, so this episode definitely opened up to that. While many of the other pairs are playing or deceiving each other into winning, (067) and (240) don't start to play anything for a while. The two plan to take as long as possible before time runs out. In this Episode is when we really get to learn about one of the main characters, (067), and even a good amount about (240). While shown as usually "closed-off" or just quiet, Kang Sae-byeok (067) shares her background about leaving her family behind in North Korea. Ji-yeong (240) was just released from jail after dealing with a rather personal affair. Both women have gone through many traumatizing moments in their life, so this was definitely an eery way to bond... but a bond is a bond. It seems like an interesting friendship could have form between the two, but (240) is reminded again that only one will pass. When watching the body language and close-up shots of this scene, it does not seem tense or malicious. It is rather mellow and disheartening. When it is finally time to play, the girls decided the game to be throwing one marble closest to the wall. (240) "carelessly" throws it only a few inches in front of her, and that is when (067) realizes what (240) had done. The scene is very emotional and it shows just how well-written it is. The bond that was just beginning to form breaks just like that.

Influence of Music Used

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The influence of music used in any film is definitely powerful to evoke an emotion out of the person watching the film... or maybe not. While the visuals of a film are rather important, the auditory of a film is just as crucial. As viewers watch the actors on the screen and also listen to the words spoken, the music behind the scene can subconsciously trigger some emotion within the viewer. Choosing a song helps blend the scene and with guidance from the tunes and tempos, a "masterpiece" of sorts is created.[6] The music used in Episode 6 [7] were just add-ons to the eerie, mysterious, and dramatic elements that were seen and heard throughout the series.

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  1. "'Squid Game' is No. 1 among U.S. Netflix viewers". Retrieved 2021-10-12.
  2. "Where was Squid Game filmed?". Radio Times. Retrieved 2021-10-11.
  3. What is 'gganbu' in Squid game???, retrieved 2021-10-11
  4. Behind The Set Of Squid Game, retrieved 2021-10-11
  5. "The heartbreaking brilliance of 'Squid Game' episode 6, 'Gganbu'". The Daily Dot. 2021-10-06. Retrieved 2021-10-11.
  6. "The underlying effect of music in film and the art of film scoring". EgyptToday. 2018-04-04. Retrieved 2021-10-12.
  7. "Music from Squid Game S1E06". Tunefind. Retrieved 2021-10-12.