Winner of the Grand Prize of Critics’ Week at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, a 12-year-old girl watches her body undergo a terrifying transformation in this irreverent art-horror debut from Malaysia.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2023
An unapologetic debut from Malaysian director Amanda Nell Eu, this art-horror film set in the jungles of Malaysia captures the intensity and terror that puberty can be for a young girl through a tale of mystical transformation.
Zaffan (Zafreen Zairizal) is a carefree and rebellious 12-year-old who does TikTok dances with her friends and faces stern rebukes for her behaviour from adults. When she becomes the first among her friends to get her period, things begin to change. One of her old friends Farah (Deena Ezral) begins to turn the other classmates against her, while she realises in horror that her body is transforming into something primal. As she tries to hide what she is becoming and the bullying becomes more vicious, Zaffan becomes increasingly isolated, but the transformation imbues her with a power to push back against those who torment her and want to keep her in check. Will she embrace the raw strength within her that others see as monstrous?
Winner of the Grand Prize of Critics Week at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and the first Southeast Asian film to win in its history, Tiger Stripes hails the arrival of a truly original voice. — Vicci Ho
“Interested arthouse crowds... will find much that is surprisingly universal and true in this well-observed, fiercely female-centred coming-of-age drama… it truly growls in its depiction of the brutal nature of girl friendship and the shock of the menstrual metamorphosis. Whatever constraints Eu was working under here, and that includes the Pandemic alongside funding and numerous co-production elements, they seem unlikely to recur as she goes forward with a career which should be as striking as her debut.” — Fionnuala Halligan, Screendaily