KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — Director Amanda Nell Eu has reportedly lamented the state of the film industry in Malaysia despite a strong year for the industry internationally, pointing to how censorship still continues under the Anwar administration.
Speaking to the British paper The Guardian, Eu highlighted that self-censorship is a big problem in Malaysia and it is harder to get funding from studios if a director is working on projects that push boundaries, leaving them to rely solely on regional grants.
“Right now, that hasn’t moved,” she told the paper, referring to the state of censorship under the current government.
Commenting on the rare occurrence of several Malaysian independent films touring international festivals this year and the acclaim for actress Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh, Eu contrasted this to how most of the films will unlikely be shown in local cinemas here.
“The strange thing is that most of these films don’t get theatrically released here because they are dealing with topics that maybe will be censored or will be deemed difficult to release here,” she was quoted saying.
Eu pointed to how her film Tiger Stripes is being heavily censored despite winning the best feature award at the 62nd Cannes’ Critics Week this year.
“The very essence of why I made this film [has been] removed.
“They’re allowed to be free, they’re allowed to do things in secret and that’s the reality. To censor that made me realise: OK, this is why I told the story,” she was quoted as saying.
Parts of the film that were excluded from the Malaysian release include a scene showing blood on a period pad, a girl trying on her friend’s bra over her school uniform in the school toilet and the main character dancing for a TikTok video in a waterfall with her hair flowing.
Following the worrying attitude towards filmmakers where members of the “Mentega Terbang” film production were questioned by the police and the screenwriter’s car was splashed in corrosive substance, only for making a film that portrays a young woman exploring different religions, risk assessments were made for the young Tiger Stripes actors before filming to ensure the safety of the actors.
Tiger Stripes follows a 12-year-old girl who struggles to understand what is happening with her body as she undergoes puberty.
The indie horror film opened in local cinemas in October this year for a “very limited release”.