CANNES – 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 Cannes’ International Critics’ Week, a sidebar event of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival that is dedicated to first or second films.
The debut effort by Malaysian director Amanda Nell Eu, 37, won the €10,000 (S$14,500) grand prize of the 62nd International Critics’ Week, also known as Semaine de la Critique. It is the first time a South-east Asian film has won the prize.
The film is still in competition for the Camera d’Or prize, an award for the best first feature film presented in one of Cannes’ selections (Official Selection, Directors’ Fortnight or International Critics’ Week).
As reported by entertainment portal Screen Daily, International Critics’ Week’s jury president Audrey Diwan said Tiger Stripes was “irreverent and uncompromising”.
“It 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,” she added.
Produced by Eu’s company Ghost Grrrl Pictures, Tiger Stripes follows a 12-year-old girl who cannot make sense of what is happening to 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.
Eu is the first female director from Malaysia to have a film featured at Cannes.
Only three other Malaysian films have been chosen for the festival: U-Wei Saari’s Kaki Bakar in 1995, Chris Chong Chan Fui’s Karaoke in 2009 and Woo Ming Jin’s The Tiger Factory in 2010.
Tiger Stripes had funding from Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and Singapore. Among its producers is Singapore-based Akanga Film Asia, while its financing includes a South-east Asia Co-Production Grant from the Singapore Film Commission.
Singaporean talent such as sound designer Lim Ting Li, and character design and special effects make-up supervisor June Goh, were involved i...