The Winners from the Cannes Critics’ Week (or Le Semaine de la Critique), a sidebar event to the main film festival dedicated to first or second films from new directors have been announced. *Drumroll please* and the winner of the grand prize is none other than Malaysian film Tiger Stripes. The art horror film made history as it was the first from our country to do so, and director Amanda Nell Eu also walked away with €10,000 (approximately RM50k) in cash.

The debut film from 37 year old Eu makes her the first female Malaysian director, and the fourth Malaysian director to have a film featured at the French film festival. The first three were Kaki Bakar (1995) by U-Wei Haji Shaari, Karaoke (2009) by Chris Chong, and The Tiger Factory (2010) by Woo Ming Jin. It is also the first film from our country in Cannes for several years. The movie was produced under Eu’s production company Ghost Grrr Pictures, and she also wrote the script.

The film is about 12 year old Zaffran who lives in a small rural community and is the first to hit puberty amongst her friends. She starts to experience horrifying physical changes to her body and she is ostracised by the community when mass hysteria hits the school. Newcomers Zafreen Zairizal, Deena Ezral, and Piqa star in the film, as well as notable names Shaheizy Sam and Fatimah Abu Bakar.

In an interview with Cannes’ Critics’ Week, Eu said, “How I got the idea was actually very much from my own body and my own experience with puberty. I remember when I was going through it; One day you are one way and then the next day you wake up and there’s things that have grown on your body and you don’t know why or how come it’s so fast. ”

Speaking to Screen Daily, Critics’ Week 2023 jury president Audrey Diwan said, ““Irreverent and uncompromising, Tiger Stripes does not try to please, it is content to fully assume its seductive singularity. It was the first film of the selection that we saw. It has passed the test of time.”

Watch the trailer here:

Jour2Fete will release the film in France but there is no word yet if the movie will be screened in Malaysia.

Image credit: @ghostgrrrlpictures