Observations of an Invisible Woman

Eve’s Bayou

Have you ever watched a film that was so good you had to see it twice? Well I did. I see this movie every time it shows on cable. Kasi Lemmons, the first time director, blew me away with her Louisiana-Creole Gothic film about a well-to-do black family with deep secrets.

Eve, named after the slave that won her freedom, was the young protagonist that captured our hearts. Played by the wonderful Jurnee Smollett, she is born with a “gift” that she shares with her favourite and mentally unstable aunt, Mozelle. Debbie Morgan was born for this role as the stunning and psychic black widow that cannot find happiness.

Aside from Smollett, the person that held my attention was Cisely, her on-screen sister. With puberty approaching and certain “feelings” developing, we are transcended into her world, her feelings, her needs as a young woman…all involving her father. We also see a rivalry between her and the gorgeous Lynn Whitfield, played by her mother. This epic reminded me of my own culture, which I lapped up greedily. The richness, the people, the way they dressed and spoke, and with most Creoles, the underlying sense of the supernatural.

Perhaps the most stunning aspect of this masterpiece was how Lemmons cleverly left us, the audience, to figure out what really happened that night.

When this film came out in 1997, I felt with its rich cinematography, great screenplay, Mr. Jackson as the lead role and producer, this film would at least get a few nominations.

It got not one.

Perhaps the Academy is saving their accolades for:

1. Monster’s Ball

2. Precious

3. Training Day

And all other films that show blacks as lazy, drug ridden, animalistic, corrupt prostitutes.

Tell me, did you see Eve’s Bayou and how did you interpret it?

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34 thoughts on “Eve’s Bayou

  1. phoebeprunelle on said:

    I remember this film.

    I basically saw what can happen in any family when people are not careful. Electra complex–the daughter competing with her mother for the affections of her father.

  2. @ Phoebes:

    What surprised me about this film was the way it was discarded by the media, expect blacks, and by the Academy.

  3. It probably got less attention b/c it was dealing with real issues that come up in black families…all while the black people in the film maintained dignity–you know like showing the world how normal and REAL black people are.

    It also shattered some myths that people may have had about black creoles.

  4. SomeGuy on said:

    I saw this last year, but it really didn’t leave me with a big impression. I found it a bit creepy, to be honest. Although, I do believe it was a film more for women than men. I’m not saying every Black movie has to do with something more positive, but too often the films that are released showcase dysfunctional Black families. Black folks in American need a healthy dose of empowering propaganda, not these images of vulnerability. We need a Black Joseph Goebbels.

  5. I feel you are correct. It was more female geared but I loved the look and dialogue of the film.

  6. Yeah… God forbid anything that shows dignified blacks will be played down in the media.

  7. phoebeprunelle on said:

    I didn’t see it being more geared to women though. The film did have a redemptive quality to it and so did its characters. This is the thing: for me when films are just happy g0 lucky, they don’t accurately portray life and in turn seem very unrealistic.

  8. SomeGuy on said:

    True, but if White people did the same with their films (accurately portraying life) there would be a flood of movies about child molesting, wife beating, and ruthless world conquering – ya know, with all the rape and genocide. Instead, they make their world seem like Disney and ours like the Brothers Grimm.

    I think we have enough “real life” stories about Black America. It’s time for real revolution in the film industry.

  9. phoebeprunelle on said:

    Someguy, you have got to watch French and German films….they do accurately portray whites as power hunger, sexually deviant and the likes.

    Seriously. Every male actor in Germany has at one point in his career vied for the envious role of playing Hitler, i kid you not.

  10. @ Phoebes
    As a foreign film watcher, I agree.

  11. Yeah, not to derail the thread or anything, but what is the German film fascination with Hitler though?

  12. SomeGuy on said:

    Haha! Yeah, I saw that film “The Downfall” about Hitler. I admit, I have a fetish for those Nazi films. It’s like watching Asylum inmates through a looking glass.

  13. @ Phoebes:

    Have you ever read Mein Kampf? If not please do. It’s a must read for blacks in the understanding of white supremacy….It’s hard to read and process, I took nearly 3 months to read his vomitus but when I did, it was so clear as to how the supremacist thinks.

    Germans love Hitler. Just like white AmeriKlans love racist films, like Birth of a Nation. Same idea, same process of control and domination, different language.
    Germany actually has a memorial to the Holocaust, like the Southerns have with the preservation of slave cabins.

    White Supremacy, in its sickness and insanity, will adore “the beast”, identify with him and live vicariously through his movies and memorial.

  14. phoebeprunelle on said:

    Just freakin Wow…

  15. You must forgive me, for I am angry and don’t know how to act.

    I saw the film and enjoyed it. The only thing I didn’t like was the untrue portrayal of the lighter skinned (Creole) semi-Black people with darker skinned Black people like me and my family.

    I spent summers with these people (Creole) being around in the town where my grandparents lived and trust me, they don’t mix and forget about marring each other.

  16. Yeah…I know. When I read it, my skin crawled. But it opened me up to the white mind bent on 2 things:

    1. Extermination
    2. Control

  17. Yes…Creoles can be a confused bunch. I have Creoles who look like Mariah Carey, Damien Marley and Wesley Snipes.

    Unfortunately, the Willie Lynch Syndrome is alive and well.

  18. I saw this movie earlier this year. I did like it.
    I did not feel it was geared towards women, but towards an audience who can appreciate a story with nuances and characters with depth. The casting was great. Samuel L. Jackson is one of my favorite actors, I like Lynn Whitfield, the kid who played Eve was just too cute, and I have had this crush for Meagan Goode for years (actually, it’s when I saw her as a teenager in this movie that I realized it was this old…)
    I’m not sure what happened that night, but I’m tempted to believe the version of the father (Sam Jackson) over the elder sis’ one.

  19. Tyrone on said:


    I’ve seen the movie 3 or 4 times since it hit the big screen in 1997. Without a doubt, one of the best black films to come out of hollywood in a long time. The film was real, not diluted in a major way. Us telling our story the way it’s supposed to be told. The downplaying of the film was not shocking, black people are less than in the minds of the power players that run the studios. As with other issues, when we gain control of our rich cultural legacy, the bs will cease.


  20. Yeah..I believe Sam’s version over the daughter’s too.

  21. Kasi Lemmons had to fight to get this movie up and running. That’s why Jackson helped her to produce it.

  22. mary burrell on said:

    Hey Sister Truth, I’m glad to be back. Eve’s Bayou is one of my favorite movies. Kasi Lemmons is everything. I wish I could see more of her work. I was drawn to this film for the supernatural elements. Jurnee Smolet is one of the few talented young actresses we have today. I remember thinking Megan Goode was just cute. but the relationship between her and Sam Jackson her father skeezed me out a little. good post.

  23. mary burrell on said:

    Check Jurnee out in The Great Debaters. That was a very underrated film.

  24. That was a GREAT film!!!

  25. Kushite Prince on said:

    I thought it was a very well acted film. Great performances throughout. I must admit though,I was a bit uneasy watching Meagan Good kiss Samuel Jackson. I think she was 15 or 16 at the time. I was a little uncomfortable with that scene. But it was a good film though.

  26. mary burrell on said:

    @Dr. Reine, I think our we have great taste in films and hair. lol!

  27. The father’s version does sound more reasonable, however; i’m not so sure that Cicely was exactly lying…

    I have known families were the daughter and mother(subconsciously) compete for the father’s affection and no one really wants to be honest about making mistakes especially when it comes to these things.

    Somehow it did seem that because the mother and father were having difficulty, the eldest daughter kind of took on an adult role for her father. Things got mixed up and daddy and daughter contributed to each other’s role confusion.

  28. mary burrell on said:

    Kasi Lemons should be just making all kinds of magic in Hollyweird. That sister has talent. Mr. Tyler Perry could learn many things from her. Beasts of the Southern Wild is a beautiful film check it out in the theaters you will enjoy it. beautiful imagery. just a gorgeous piece of art.

  29. Ok…I’ll check that out too…

  30. I read that over 90% of Academy voters are White men over the age of 60. And of those men most haven’t worked in the film industry in decades. Knowing that you can better understand why they prefer The Help rather than Malcolm X. And also knowing this I don’t really pay much attention to the Oscars anymore.

    And I agree, Eve’s Bayou was a great film. I need to watch it again.

  31. one of my favorite black movies

  32. one of my favorite movies period

  33. I just watched it. I had seen it long ago. I didn’t realize that this was the same movie. I liked it. Though, all of the death threats reminded me of the bad parenting so common among our people. I know many of us excuse death threats, but it’s excusing a bad habit to me. Ironically, this film is a good example as to why excusing death threats should not be. “Good night, Maddie!”

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