Since the global success of “Squid Game” released in 2021, Korean series have continued to captivate more and more Western viewers and set audience records. The latest, “The Glory”, fascinates because of its synopsis as exciting as it is disturbing, two aspects that had seduced series fans with “Squid Game”. The South Korean success has also been unveiled on the big screen, notably with “Parasite”, directed by Bong Joon-ho, which shone at the Oscars in 2020. It is the first time that Korean cinema has been distinguished at this ceremony, having received the Oscar for best film, best director, best screenplay and best international film.
The Korean drama topped Netflix’s global top 10 with the release of the second part on March 10. The first, which went live on December 30, 2022, had already captivated audiences, and ranked ninth in the non-English language series. The second installment of the series also rose to number seven on the list of most popular titles. “The Glory” thus dethroned series that were highly anticipated such as “You” and “Outer Banks”.
THE REVENGE OF A LIFETIME
The series follows a woman, Moon Dong-eun, who undertakes an extremely elaborate plan of revenge against her high school bullies, who harassed and abused her. Touches, burns on the body with a straightener and an iron, kicks and slaps, her “comrades” tortured her psychologically and physically. Added to this is an absent father, a mother under the influence of alcohol, and a teaching staff that is at best passive, at worst against the teenager, an explosive cocktail that will increasingly prevent her from defending herself, and from just talk about it.
Everyone broke it. Obsessed with her thirst for revenge, Moon Dong-eun’s only goal becomes the destruction of the lives of her former comrades. She thus develops a plan, remaining in the shadows for years, and finds them to implement it.
FROM FICTION TO REALITY
While engrossing, the series is mostly disturbing, both to watch and to play. Lim Ji-yeon, the actress who plays the young version of Park Yeon-jin, the main executioner, shared the difficulties she felt in putting herself in the shoes of the persecutor she played. Invited in the show “Point of Omniscient Interfere” on MBC, she confided: “I had nightmares when I came home. I couldn’t sleep without earplugs anymore because I was so restless from this dark role.
Indeed, “The Glory” addresses very serious themes such as harassment, family violence, addictions or even social class differences. Societal problems very often represented and highlighted in Korean series and films. The director of “Parasite”, Bong Joon-ho, wanted to show through his feature film that “the government, society, institutions do not help families because they are people who are weak and the system does not doesn’t help, it even puts a spoke in their wheels,” he explained in a masterclass given at the Grand Rex in Paris on February 26. A metaphorical way of denouncing the evils that remain, despite the recent controversy surrounding the series. While “The Glory” denounces school bullying, director Ahn Gil Ho was accused of attacking other students when he was 17 years old. He acknowledged the facts and apologized.
Apart from the controversy, viewers are already waiting for a new season which seems out of date, with Ahn Gil Ho having declared during a promotion event that episode 16 was “the most interesting episode” of all, promising a “perfect ending for fiction”.