Malay-language art house horror film Tiger Stripes made history by becoming the first Malaysian film to win the grand prize for best feature at the Cannes’ Critics’ Week, a sidebar for the prestigious Cannes Film Festival that is dedicated to first or second films.
The debut effort by Malaysian director Amanda Nell Eu won the 10,000 euros (RM49,400) grand prize of the 62nd edition of Cannes’ Critics’ Week.
The film is also still in competition for the Camera d’Or prize, which is an award for the best first feature film presented in one of the Cannes’ selections (Official Selection, Directors’ Fortnight, or International Critics’ Week).
In a WhatsApp interview from the festival the day after the win, Eu said it had not really sunk in yet.
“I’m just grateful that an audience can see this film, see its emotions, its fight, and its sense of humour,” she said.
Eu also said there was a good buzz surrounding the film.
“I met a lot of people who said they tried very hard to get tickets to the screening, but were sold out pretty quickly!” she said.
Her next project will be a film set in pre-World War II colonial Malaya, touching on themes of motherhood and the position of a wife.
“I’m still doing a lot of research for it, but of course, expect some more blood, gore and guts,” she said.
Produced under Eu’s production company, Ghost Grrrl Pictures, Tiger Stripes centres on a 12-year-old girl who can’t make sense of what is happening with her body as puberty hits.
The film stars newcomers Zafreen Zairizal, Deena Ezral and Piqa, as well as established actors Shaheizy Sam and Fatimah Abu Bakar.
The 37-year-old Eu is the first female director from Malaysia to have a film featured in Cannes; Tiger Stripes is also only the fourth Malaysian feature film at Cannes and the first since 2010.
Only three other Malaysian films have been chosen for Cannes previously.