South Korea: Success at all Costs

With their long working hours, cultural obsession with work, and high-stakes schooling system, South Koreans live life in the fast lane. Everyone has the same aim: to be successful and to beat the competition. Thanks in part to this hard work ethic, South Korea has become one of the most powerful world economies.

Today, South Korea is the most connected country on the planet. It has transformed itself into a laboratory of the future. Tablets have replaced books in schools, robots stand in as babysitters and video game champions are worshipped like Gods.

In Seoul, even one’s physical appearance is part of the criteria for success: many women have plastic surgery and men inject botox into their vocal chords to make their voices deeper. But today, these extremes seem to have reached their limits. Though the economic indicators may look good, South Koreans are experiencing growing unemployment.

South Korea also holds a saddening record: their suicide rate. Around 40 people commit suicide every day in the country. Many victims are those who are excluded and marginalised from the Korean economy, particularly older people, as well as those who live in slums, with barely enough to eat.


  • Year: 2016
  • Duration: 55 mins
  • Production: Patrick Spica Productions
  • Director: Barbara Necek, Aline Hoorpah
  • Available Versions: ENG, FRA
  • Country of production: France


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