Filmmaker Sophie Fiennes’ Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami opens May 4, at Tower Theatre, 876 S. 900 East. It’s an electrifying journey through the public and private worlds of pop culture mega-icon Grace Jones. It juxtaposes musical sequences with intimate personal footage, all the while brimming with Jones’s bold aesthetic.
A larger-than-life entertainer, an androgynous glam-pop diva, an unpredictable media presence — Jones is all these things and more.
Fiennes’s documentary goes beyond the traditional music biography, offering a portrait as stylish and unconventional as its subject. Taking us to Jamaica, the studio with long-time collaborators Sly and Robbie, and behind-the-scenes at shows around the world, the film reveals Jones as lover, daughter, mother, and businesswoman.
But the stage is the fixed point to which the film returns, with eye-popping performances of “Slave to the Rhythm,” “Pull Up to the Bumper,” “Love is the Drug,” and more. Jones said watching the film “will be like seeing me almost naked” and, indeed, Fiennes’s treatment is as genre-bending as its subject, untamed by neither age nor life itself.
This is a Grace Jones we haven’t seen, someone who reminds us to dare to be truly alive. In all her apparent contradictions, Jones may appear an exception, but she is also a point of identification: the exception that proves the rule.
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami came to fruition following Fiennes’s first feature documentary Hoover Street Revival (2001) about a Pentecostal church community in Los Angeles, and the sermons of its preacher, Bishop Noel Jones, Grace’s brother.