Husband, father and womanizer Louis Batiste is the head of an affluent family, but it's the women who rule this gothic world of secrets.
What did little Eve see--and how will it haunt her? Husband, father and womanizer Louis Batiste is the head of an affluent family, but it's the women who rule this gothic world of secrets, lies and mystic forces.
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Eve’s Bayou exemplifies the folk expression that there are at least two sides to every story. Written and directed by Kasi Lemmons, the film portrays the return of the Batiste family’s repressed secrets. Set in a hermetic 1962 Louisiana community, it centres on the perspective of Eve Batiste (Jurnee Smollett), the 10-year-old daughter of wealthy doctor Louis (Samuel L. Jackson) and socialite mother Roz (Lynn Whitfield). When Eve catches sight of her father in an act of infidelity, she begins to question adult authority. The film borrows elements from the Southern Gothic in order to ask what it means to act on what we know.
The most commercially successful independent film of 1997, Eve’s Bayou received numerous accolades, including 1998 Independent Spirit Awards for Best First Feature and Best Supporting Actor (Debbi Morgan).
Twenty-five years after the theatrical release, the Criterion director’s cut reinscribes what Lemmons describes as her favourite character — a figure whose presence resolves the ambiguity of memory at the heart of the film. The 2022 version promises to reinvigorate attention to this already highly regarded film and to provoke new conversations about the politics of Black storytelling, memory, and ability.
–Felice Blake, Keith Harris, and Roya Rastegar, curators of Perpetratin’ Realism, American Cinematheque
Content advisory: sexually suggestive scenes, coarse language