The films of Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh have long addressed humanity’s capacity for evil, but in Everything Will Be OK he examines (amongst other things) whether or not the same capabilities exist within animal society. Using the same style of elaborate hand-crafted miniature model-work found in many of the prolific filmmaker’s previous projects, in his latest film Panh shifts his perspective somewhat, telling a speculative story about a world where animals have taken over the world and enslaved humanity.
Born in Phnom Penh in 1964, Panh’s parents, siblings, and a number of his relatives all died in Khmer Rouge labour camps prior to his escape from Cambodia. Understandably, many of his films—such as S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (2003) or the Oscar-nominated The Missing Picture (2013)—have addressed the horrors that occured in his home country, using varying but always creative means to work through his own family’s story and broader related national issues. This history is still present in Everything Will Be Ok, but it plays out in the background of a central narrative that uses the question of whether or not the new animal rulers will repeat the same mistakes humans made during their period of primacy as a means to explore humanity’s propensity towards committing atrocities.