Eve's Bayou, movie review, film review, entertainment
|Michael A. Maynez|
Move over Ingmar Bergman, here comes Kasi Lemmons, debuting as an auspicious writer director with a simmering, shimmering story to match. The likes of authors Tennessee Williams, John Berendt and Truman Capote with the dynamic "Eve's Bayou". A community so named after a slave that saved the life of a white planter with her medicinal powers was set free as her reward.
Now Eve Batiste the young ten-year-old daughter of Dr. Louis Batiste, played like a true aristocratic scoundrel, by Samuel L. Jackson, who attends to all his patients needs, particularly if they are women, is a revelation in cinematic deceit. Eve narrates the story as her memory recreates what she remembers, which in this case touches all the women in her family. Her mother, her aunt, her sister, her brother, her gran mere, and that black magic woman Elzora, played with mischievous delight by Diahann Carroll. The pain of her mother in contending with all the infidelities of her husband. The fourteen year older sister with a secret too vile for Eve to really comprehend, but when she does it has irrevocable consequences. The aunt with psychic powers is lush putty in the hands of Debbi Morgan, glamorous, fiery and in desperate need to protect her young niece Eve. She can foretell the needs of everyone, except the deaths of her three previous husbands. Lynn Whitfield as the understanding wife that doesn't want to understand anymore, beautifully escalates the emotions of her lot to a lonely bed surrounded only by her children. Jurnee Smollett plays Eve with such naturalness that you are never aware that she is acting.
The whole cast is so cohesive that you are only aware of a spirituality that must have guided Kasi Lemmons throughout this Bayou. She has surrounded herself with people of great insight into the Louisiana Bayou, which with the cinematography of Amy Vincent makes us be there, costumes, music and production design are of the very essence of great quality.
Trimark the distributor has possibly offered the best description of the movie, "The true topography of Eve's Bayou is a locale somewhere between the material and spiritual worlds, where truth and its perception can change shape, depending on he light of day." The haunting magic of this movie is remarkable soul food.
Produced by: Caldecot Chubb, Samuel L. Jackson
Written and directed by: Kasi Lemmons
With: Samuel L. Jackson, Lynn Whitfield, Debbi Morgan, Vondie Curtis Hall, Branford Marsalis, Lisa Nicole Carlson, Jurnee Smollett, Diahann Carroll
Co-producer: Cevin Cathell
Co-producers: Jay Polstein, Cami Winikoff
Co-executive producers: Michael Bennett, Margaret Matheson
Executive producers: Mark Amin, Eli Selden, Nick Wechsler, Julie Yorn
Costume designer: Karyn Wagner
Original score by: Terence Blanchard
Executive music producer: Gary English
Edited by: Terilyn A. Shropshire
Director of photography: Amy Vincent
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Original Date Friday 7 November 1997
Updated Saturday 8 November 1997