Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami (2017)

In this documentary, the viewer follows Grace Jones as she records a new album, performs, travels to visit family, and generally talks about life and her inner thoughts.

Director Sophie Fiennes follows Jones without putting any sort of judgment on any of the going-ons, giving Jones the spotlight and never taking it away for any reason. This film is all about Grace Jones and is a deep look into her life and how she is. It’s an honest look at the singer, at one part of her life in which we see her at work and at home. It’s not just a career documentary or one covering her public life. The viewer gets to meet her mother, her family, her brand new grandchild even. One would think this would be more geared toward fans of Grace Jones, but the film is done and shot in such a way where it’s more about life and the philosophy of a strong woman with strong convictions. It’s inspirational without trying to be. The way this is shot is simple, mixing interviews, life moments, and performances.

The lead, the subject, here is Grace Jones in all her splendor and her grandeur. She’s a grand dame to say the least and she has had a great life filled with just about everything she could have wanted and then some. She comes across as a woman of intelligence, good manners, and talent. She’s worth every second spent watching her here. As the main subject of this film, she gives the filmmaker plenty to work with and the viewer plenty to see and hear. Her presence is magnetic and even if this film were about others, she would still be the center the attention. Interviews with her in her home country, in France, etc show many sides of her and she becomes almost like an old friend through all her honest and frank talks. She holds nothing back, making this documentary a very interesting watch.

Of course, her music is heavily present and almost like an extra character. The way the film lets the music shine and lets it take center stage more than once helps add to the story and the personality of the leading lady. Also adding to the way she comes off is the cinematography by Remko Schnorr. It gives the film a very polished look and the performances are shining and lovely to watch, neither parts of the film shying away from anything, much like Jones herself.

A final note needs to be made of the work by Philip Treacy who’s hats Jones wears all the time and who designs them clearly for her and her needs, may it be a visit to her mother’s or a stage show or a television appearance. These hats are important to her and they are given plenty screen time.

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami is a fascinating watch about a fascinating human who just takes the lead and runs away with it here. It’s all about her and director Sophie Fiennes knows it. She lets her be the center of attention at all times, something Jones does well as she always commands attention and makes the most of everything. She a woman with plan, with a goal, and with a full life.