21 years after it’s release, it seems that larger film community is finally starting to recognize the significance and cinematic brilliance of Eve’s Bayou. The Kasi Lemmons-directed film was among a batch of classic films selected for film preservation by the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
Every year, the National Film Registry chooses a carefully curated collection of motion pictures it deems “culturally, historically or aesthetically” to preserve for future generations.
Released in 1997, Eve’s Bayou is a revolves around Eve Batiste (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) a precocious 10-year old girl whose seemingly charmed life in Louisiana is altered when she witnesses her father (Samuel L. Jackson) having an affair. To make things more complicated, Eve possesses the gift of “second sight,” and seeks advice from her widowed aunt Mozelle (Debbi Morgan), a fellow psychic. The film also stars Lynn Whitfield, Meagan Good, Diahann Carroll, Lisa Nicole Carson, Branford Marsalis.
“It’s such an honor to return from production on my fifth film, Harriet, to find that my first, Eve’s Bayou, is being included in the National Film Registry,” Lemmons said in a statement to the National Film Registry. “As a black woman filmmaker, it is particularly meaningful to me, and to future generations of filmmakers, that the Library of Congress values diversity of culture, perspective and expression in American cinema and recognizes Eve’s Bayou as worthy of preservation.”
Eve’s Bayou was not the only Black film selected for preservation. The 1984 documentary film Hair Piece: A Film for Nappy-Headed People, was also selected for preservation. Directed by Ayoka Chenzira, the film was one of the earliest to examine the issues African-American women go through with their hair.
Something Good — Negro Kiss, a 1898 film featuring one of the first examples of Black love depicted on-screen, was selected for film preservation. In addition, Monterey Pop, 1968 a musical documentary film featuring footage of Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding, was also selected for film preservation.