Plot: Grace Jones has been a force of nature in music, fashion, and movies for decades, touring the world with her stylish stage shows and charismatic performances, for legions of devoted fans. In Bloodlight & Bami, Jones allows us to ride along for a section of her tour as she returns home to Jamaica. The movie shows us the professional and personal sides to Jones, giving fans unprecedented access to her inner circle, front row seats to several live performances, and a glimpse into her family life, all filtered through Jones’ unique brand of charm and charisma.
Entertainment Value: This movie is an ambitious one, as it follows Grace Jones on a concert tour, a visit to her native Jamaica, and gives an overview of the star’s past and rise to fame, which is a lot of content to cover. But Sophie Fiennes is able to balance all of these elements and the end result is an intimate, candid look at one of the most unique, outspoken figures in pop culture. The movie opens with Jones in a live performance and we revisit her on stage several times over the course of the documentary, which I think is a crucial element here. Jones is such a gifted performer and seeing her music live is an experience, even through a screen. The costumes, the production design elements, and her intense connection to the crowd, all of these combine to show Jones in her true element, the spotlight. As her music is such an integral part of her life, I was pleased to find these concert segments here.
Although the film follows Jones on tour, there is more here than the live music, as Bloodlight & Bami also has looks at the personal side of Jones. This includes a glimpse into her roots and charts her rise to stardom, with archival footage such as an infamous interview where she slapped a reporter. This background information is worthwhile, thought mostly things that even casual fans likely know, but it is still good to have it as part of this package. The documentary also offers a trip into her family life and you hear stories from Jones herself about her youth, growing up, and the impact family has had on her life. These intimate moments feel more like conversations than interviews, which I think fans will really appreciate. That sense of authenticity runs throughout this movie, as it never feels staged or scripted, just a slice of life from an interesting, dynamic figure who pulls back the curtain on her life for us. I’d recommend this to anyone interested in Grace Jones, but also those who appreciate larger than life personalities or well made documentaries.