US, 1997, 109 min, Digital, Dir. Kasi Lemmons, Rated R, English, Lionsgate

Eve's Bayou

Wednesday, 2/16 & Thursday, 2/17

"With such a rich background like this, the main characters in the movie are brimming with personality and intensity reminiscent of the family drama films by Ingmar Bergman." –Seongyong Cho

“It called me back for a second and third viewing. If it is not nominated for Academy Awards, then the academy is not paying attention. ” –Roger Ebert

This film is part of Strong Black Leads, a celebration of talented filmmakers and performers who, despite the odds, have made remarkable contributions to cinema through their respective crafts.

Dubbed the best of film of 1997 by Roger Ebert, Eve’s Bayou is the stunning feature debut from director Kasi Lemmons. In her breakout acting role, a young Jurnee Smollett (Lovecraft Country, Underground, The Great Debaters) plays Eve Batiste, a girl coming to terms with the dangers that lurk within and around her affluent Creole family. The beautiful but imposing Louisiana landscape, complete with expansive bayous, towering oaks, and Spanish moss, sets the mood for this Southern Gothic drama. Samuel Jackson plays Eve’s philandering father, Louis, a successful doctor in the “colored” part of town. Coming of age in an environment where the supernatural and everyday coexist, Eve explores what it means to have the gift of sight. Hoping to harness her power, she dabbles in the realm of voodoo.

The film boasts a stellar cast of Black luminaries, including Diahann Carroll, Lynn Whitfield, and Debbi Morgan. Actress Meagan Goode plays Eve’s older sister, Cisely. In 2018, The Library of Congress added Eve’s Bayou to the National Film Registry because of its “cultural, historic and aesthetic importance to the nation’s film heritage.” Despite receiving critical acclaim and national recognition, Eve’s Bayou has not enjoyed the notoriety that it deserves from mainstream American audiences.

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