'Eve's Bayou' 22 Years Later: Filmmaker Kasi Lemmons Reflects On Her Classic Film
Black girls often get erased in Hollywood. There have been few instances like Spike Lee’s 1994 film Crooklyn or the forthcoming Marsai Martin-produced movie, Little that have centered Black girls. With her 1997 directional debut, Eve's Bayou filmmaker Kasi Lemmons blew the lid off of a new type of storytelling by honing in on the perspective of a young Black girl. Set in lavish Louisiana in the 1960s, Lemmons’ Eve’s Bayou follows 10-year-old Eve Batiste, a tenacious and curious young Black girl who chronicles the summer of her father’s death. When the film was released, its story and cast— including Jurnee Smollett, Samuel L. Jackson, Lynn Witfield, Debbie Morgan, Meagan Good, and Diahann Carroll— got glowing reviews. It became the highest-grossing indie film of that year.
Twenty-two years later, we are still celebrating the film’s success and legacy. At a recent special screening of Eve's Bayou in partnership with The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science at the Metrograph in New York City—Shadow and Act spoke with Lemmons and acclaimed film editor Teri Shropshire about the journey to make the film, what it represents today and Lemmons’s upcoming Harriet Tubman biopic.
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