By Gregory Crofton
By following Grace Jones around the world on and off for five years, director Sophie Fiennes was able to create a mesmerizing two-hour documentary full of life, love, beauty and powerful performances.
It deftly reflects and explains the glamour and passion that this enigmatic performer has offered the world for decades.
Who is Grace Jones other than a striking black model who played the villain in the James Bond film “A View to a Kill”?
In BLOODLIGHT AND BAMI, Fiennes, sister to Hollywood actors Ray and Joseph Fiennes, doesn’t explore any salacious or commercial part of Jones’ life. Her focus is the here and now circa 2008.
You see her perform live, and the images captured are exquisite. What makes this film work is how this mysterious fashion icon and powerful singer allows people into her private life. Cameras come along to her family reunion in Jamaica, the country in which she was born.
These scenes reveal a complex, intelligent woman, direct about what she feels and what’s important to her. (She considers herself a visual artist. If she could have one thing it might be a unfettered view of the sky.)
She seems to revel in darker places, on stage and in her personal life. The dark personas that show up on stage (i.e. a feathered skeleton mask) in her fashion and dance she says are rooted in the behavior of her abusive step father.
The title BLOODLIGHT AND BAMI refers to specfic touchstones in Jones’ life. “Bloodlight” is a blood-red light on stage, a place Jones loves. Bami is a Jamaican bread that reminds her of her younger days.
Fan of the documentary genre should love this film. Fiennes has invested the time it requires to make something like this good, and used her craft to produced a cinematic experience that should be seen in a theater.