Malaysian director Amanda Nell Eu releases her first feature film

Puberty is a bit of a body horror in itself, especially when you don't understand what's happening to you.

Malaysian director, writer and scriptwriter, Amanda Nell Eu hits hard with her first feature film, Tiger Stripes, which won the Grand Prix during Critics' Week at the Cannes Festival in 2023. Close to horror and the supernatural, but also to popular traditions, she has drawn from the sphere of body horror for a powerful film about puberty, released in French cinemas on 13 March 2024. The film received funding from Aide aux cinémas du Monde, co-managed by the Institut français and the CNC.

Published on 26/03/2024

2 min

Born on 26 November 1985 in Kuala Lumpur, Amanda Nell Eu moved to Great Britain, where her grandmother was born, at the age of 11. She was a pupil at High Wycombe boarding school before studying graphic design at Central Saint Martins and attending the London Film School. She gained her master's degree and then started making her first short films. In 2012, she directed Pasak, where she follows a young woman in prison from a dysfunctional family, who sets out on a quest for a better life when she discovers she is pregnant. 

In 2015's Seesaw, she looked at the consequences of a breakup and the impossibility of repairing what cannot be repaired. She then turned to the popular traditions of her country with two short films based on characters from these traditions. The first of these, It's Easier to Raise Cattle, was presented in competition at the Venice International Film Festival and received a special mention at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival. 

In 2018, Amanda Nell Eu developed her first feature film, Tiger Stripes, winner of the South East Asian Film Lab in Singapore in 2017, as part of LIM | Less is More. She approaches puberty through the life of twelve-year-old Zaffan, who is horrified to see her body transform at a alarming rate. The filmmaker approaches this thorny subject through the prism of body horror and soon a crisis of collective hysteria, which affects the heroine's school. Ultimately, it is a complete exploration of female identity delivered at a pitch somewhere between rage and trash. 

Amanda Nell Eu explains that she wanted to trace the physical changes in life, but also highlight a sometimes complicated transition from childhood to adulthood. For example, while inspired by her personal experience, she also wanted to feature the political and social issues of gender equality in Malaysia as a backdrop. The film is also anchored in the horror genre, blending fantasy and playfulness: the director also admits her fascination for the belief in the supernatural in Southeast Asian cultures. 

Presented at the Cannes Film Festival Critics' Week in 2023, Tiger Stripes received the Grand Prix. The first Malaysian feature film to be screened at Cannes for many years, it also represents the first appearance by a female filmmaker from the country in selection at the festival. Amanda Nell Eu became the first Malaysian director to receive an award at the Cannes Film Festival, awarded by the jury chaired by Audrey Diwan. 

Tiger Stripes was also celebrated at the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF), where it won the H.R. Giger Narcissus Award. It was selected to represent Malaysia in the category of best foreign film at the 2024 Oscars. Released in Malaysia on 19 October 2023, it was censored by the authorities, forcing Amanda Nell Eu to announce that this was therefore not the same film that won an award at Cannes. 

  • 2012


    Amanda Nell Eu directs Pasak, her first short film.

  • 2015


    She directs her second short, Seesaw.

  • 2018


    Produces her first feature film, Tiger Stripes, recipient of the South East Asian Film Lab in Singapore the previous year.

  • 2023


    Her first feature film, Tiger Stripes, wins the Grand Prix during Critics' Week at the Cannes Film Festival.

L'institut français, LAB