Amanda Nell Eu’s fun and fierce debut puts a fresh feminist spin on an established horror trope: the monstrous potential of puberty. Zaffran (Zafreen Zeirizal) is a high spirited 12-year-old living on the edge of the Malaysian jungle. In many ways she is a typical tween who enjoys making mischief with her friends, dancing on TikTok and quietly rebelling against the restrictions of a religiously conservative society. However the sudden traumatic arrival of her first period sets into motion terrifying physical changes, and Zaffran soon finds herself isolated from her community by her increasingly out of control body. Blending coming of age, body horror and monster movie, Eu’s film is a subversive exploration of girlhood with a sharp satirical edge. As the first Malaysian film to win Best Feature at Cannes Critics’ Week and the country’s official entry to the Academy Awards, Tiger Stripes is also gratifyingly bringing Malaysian cinema international attention – despite, ironically, only being available to view in a censored version in the director’s home country. (RP)
Amanda Nell Eu is a Malaysian film director, writer and scriptwriter and alumni of the Berlinale Talent Campus.