Grace Jones: Bloodlight and BamiCultureCinemaMovie reviews
How do you think of Grace Jones? Some may remember her for her performance as May Day in A View to a Kill, as part of her illustrious acting career. Others may think of her fiery appearances as a super model, or her infamous interviews. Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami, remembers the artist for what she really is in her heart of hearts. Releasing her first album, Portfolio, in 1977, Jones has constantly embraced her undying love for her singing career, and this new docu-feature from director Sophie Fiennes carries an immense amount of respect for its subject’s personal life and upbringing in Jamaica.
Compiled with footage from her visit to her family home in Jamaica, and live performance recordings, Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami acts as a tribute to the life of the singer, but rather wonderfully focuses on alternate aspects of her upbringing that crafted Jones into the woman she is today. A rich portrait of her personality and talents, the documentary begins and remains in the year 2005, when Jones took her children to Jamaica to see their relatives. Revisiting old friends, the artist’s journey offers an explanation into where her muse originated from, and how the events that scar her past were reborn in her music.
With the focus entirely on her trip, there are no live one-to-one interviews with the subject in the picture. Fiennes insists the audience be observers of this woman’s life, not to interfere, inducing a natural and raw visual experience. In a dialogue, Fiennes explains that the scenes in Jamaica are part of four filmic layers, and although the picture includes footage from ten year previous, it acts as a lesson and explanation of how Jones built herself from the ground upwards: “The film isn’t nostalgic, its not a bio-pic in the sense of telling the full story of her whole life in a piece meal way. Grace’s past is always in her present anyway, but the Jamaican material takes us to her origins and the soil which grew her.”
With music from Grace Jones’s live performances accompanying the footage, the film shows her undertaking the pressures of self-management and travelling the world in her “gypsy” manner. There appears to be a slight lack of narrative and structure to the film in terms of progression and fluidity, although it is understood that rather than a plot there is an amalgamation of different layers into one human being. This docu-feature is certainly one for the Grace Jones fans out there, showing the side we all love, along with other aspects of her life interjected with wild live performances. Lest we forget… She’s fierce, she’s powerful. She is Grace Jones.
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami is released nationwide on 27th October 2017.
Watch the trailer for Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami here: