Berlin: Cambodia’s Rithy Panh on Overcoming Pandemic Despair With ‘Everything Will Be OK’

The Cambodian auteur returned to some of the methods of his 2014 Oscar nominee 'The Missing Picture' to craft a searching essay film inspired by various upheavals around the world, including the coronavirus pandemic, political violence in Myanmar and the Jan. 6 riot in the U.S.

Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh has reached a stage in his career where his creativity is completely untethered.

The 57 year-old auteur has won numerous plaudits for his documentary work chronicling the 1970s Khmer Rouge genocide, a historical tragedy he endured firsthand — watching his parents, siblings and extended family perish of starvation and forced labor — before he escaped to Thailand and, later, France, where he discovered filmmaking.

In 2013, Panh achieved a major breakthrough with The Missing Picture, a documentary that saw him abandon the cinéma vérité methods of his early work in favor of a wholly original aesthetic in which he used unmoving clay figurines, archival footage and poetic first-person narration to dramatize his family’s plight during the Pol Pot era. The meditative film won him the Prix Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival and an Oscar nomination in the best international film category.

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