Actress Kasi Lemmons made an impressive entrée into writing and directing features with Eve's Bayou, a rich portrait of middle-class African-American life in the 1960s South. Lemmons and cinematographer Amy Vincent render Louisiana's bayous with more than a dash of mysticism and ambiguity; telling the story through the eyes of a child adds an aura of uncertainty that only increases the film's dream-like quality. The formidable cast, including Samuel L. Jackson (who also co-produced), is uniformly excellent, detailing a complex world where good people sometimes do bad things. A particular bright spot among the more experienced actors is the precociously poised Jurnee Smollett as the young Eve Batiste; nearly every scene depends on her performance. For those who don't mind deliberate pacing, Eve's Bayou is a deeply atmospheric and beautifully shot movie.