From the first moments, there can be no doubt that this is a Rithy Panh film. His signature is unmistakable—we recognize the handmade, static figures and dioramas from The Missing Picture (2013), the first Cambodian film to be nominated for an Oscar. And as in Irradiated (2020), Panh bombards the viewer with the horrors of the 20th century. Everything Will Be OK is a dystopian vision à la Animal Farm and Planet of the Apes, with nightmarish sound design and a poetically political commentary.
In a near future, during a pandemic, the animals have taken over. They treat humans in a way they learned from humans themselves, as we see through sometimes disturbing archive footage—from dictators like Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot; from the horrors of factory farming, which we see repeated on countless screens. Panh overlays this with cinematic references alluding to film classics such as 2001 and Metropolis. The ironic title cites the T-shirt of democracy activist Kyal Sin, who was killed by Myanmar police in 2020.