Eve’s Bayou Memory is a selection of images, some elusive, others printed indelibly on the brain. The summer I killed my father, I was ten years old. My brother, Poe, was ten and my sister, Cisely had just turned fourteen. ” At its heart, Eve’s Bayou is about memory and how it influences our perception of events of the past and our future actions. Eve’s Bayou is a gothic African American melodrama set in the bayous of Louisiana. Most of the characters are of a racially mixed heritage, though they live as African Americans.
This film has too many subjects and themes. It is about a marriage in crisis, folk magic and supernatural beliefs, story for two young sisters, a rivalry between a brother and sister, adultery, possible incest, jealousy, guilt, and murdered. The film is at its best when it focuses on the children and their perceptions of the adult world. Eve’s Bayou is story from the viewpoint of Eve, the younger daughter, who has some of the same conjuring instincts as her aunt.
She is a mischievous child who plays tricks on her siblings and who plays a more serious and ominous trick later in the film. She literally envisions the world through her own eyes as well as through the eyes of the adults. In her mind the conflicting worlds of fantasy and reality, of magic and medicine, reality and imagination, comes together in confusion and conflict. When Mozelle tells her stories, Eve imagines them so vividly that the characters of the story seem to act out events before her.
Apparently in Eve’s Bayou the real concern is with how the daughters learn about and become involved in the adult world. One of them has her first period. The other accidentally sees their father having sex with a woman other than their mother. Both hear their parents arguing loudly at night, and they react in various ways to the tensions of the house and marriage. In Eve’s Bayou, adult knowledge comes through too many doors and windows from the psychic aunt, their mother’s anguish over their father’s philandering, from general domestic iscord, and from a strange sexual tension between the father and the older daughter named as Cisely. At one point, a seminal event occurs where her father either attempts to seduce his fourteen-year-old daughter or, paradoxically enough, takes aggressive steps to stop the young woman from seducing him. This incident turns into a major impact into Eve’s life, as Cisely tells her that she was seduced by her father yesterday night, though it was not clear what was the real truth. Therefore without knowing the real truth Eve decided to kill his father.
When Eve decides she wants to kill her father, whom she believes tried to have incestuous relations with her older sister Cisely, she at first tries to do so by paying the fortuneteller Elzora to use supernatural power by sticking pins in a doll. Beside using Elzora, Eve also tries to provoke jealousy in the husband (Lenny) of a woman (Maddy) with whom her father had an affair, as if to ensure that by relying on both magic and adult emotions she will be able to achieve her goal. Some might say that Louis’s womanizing ways just caught up to him and caused his death.
Personally I believe this was the real reason that makes Eve as a killer, because it was her who made the husband of a woman with whom her father had an affair to think that he was being betrayed by his wife. In addition to the story, despite the death of Louis Batiste, perhaps as a result of Eve’s plotting, the film comes to a strange sort of happy ending. Eve learns to live with what she has done. Cisely recovers from her depression. Even Mozelle gets another husband, though whether he falls victim to the curse we never know.
Although Eve’s Bayou takes place in the context of a social milieu i. e. every character is the product of a heritage of interplay between blacks and whites, it is not a film that engages racial issues. Rather it works in the individual realms of the individual characters. Those aspects of their lives that might have racial significance interest in voodoo, dialect, varied skin tones are mainly incidental. However for Eve, even as an adult, all she can remember is this: “The summer I killed my father, I was 10 years old. “