Eve’s Bayou title image
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115 min.
Release Date
Eve’s Bayou poster

Eve’s Bayou opens with a line as haunting as they come: “Memory is the selection of images, some elusive, others printed indelibly on the brain.” This is the voice of Eve Batiste, who continues, “The summer I killed my father, I was ten years old.” With this layered introduction and hints of patricide and ambiguity, the mysterious film, written and directed by Kasi Lemmons, immerses us in a past filtered through the recollections of its protagonist—the child of an affluent, bourgeoisie family in a predominantly Black, non-urban community. Showcasing an aspect of the Black experience rarely depicted in the 1990s, or beyond for that matter, Eve’s introductory lines establish a coming-of-age tale about a child discovering the tangled social realities of those around her. The story seems to pour out from Eve’s mind with the first images, which show two figures engaged in sexual activity, albeit through high-contrast monochrome visuals—as though envisioned in a dream or premonition and reflected on a human eye. Leaving questions about this potentially unreliable narrator and the events that led to her father’s death, the film is part murder mystery, part bildungsroman, and part investigation of life’s many equivocations, all steeped in a Southern Gothic atmosphere, supernatural mysticism, family curses, and the scars of American slavery. A moving and personal work, Eve’s Bayou inhabits the boundaries between dreams and reality, childhood and adulthood, perception and imagination, like an indistinct memory from which the fog always seems to be lifting yet never does.

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