Grace Jones

Grace Jones

Bloodlight and Bami

DVD - 2018
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An electrifying journey through the public and private worlds of pop culture mega-icon Grace Jones contrasts musical sequences with intimate personal footage, all the while brimming with Jones's bold aesthetic.
Publisher: New York, NY : Kino Lorber, ©2018.
Edition: Widescreen edition.
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (120 min.) :,sound, color ;,12 cm
Alternative Title: Bloodlight and bami [dvd]

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LostWages
Jun 21, 2019

This film isn't a career retrospective or a treatise on the importance and influence of Grace Jones. (Someone should feel free to do either or both of those.)

The director starts filming Ms. Jones in the mid-2000s and simply observes her on stage and off. She follows her home to Jamaica, where the diva mellows into a daughter, sister and parishioner. She watches her record her 2008 album "Hurricane" and become a grandmother.

There’s a trip to church where Ms. Jones’s brother, Noel, preaches and her mother sings “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.” There’s a night spent clubbing. Ms. Jones was in her mid-50s when the movie finds her and just turned 71 last month. So for someone whose hits include the 1981 masterpiece of metaphor, “Pull Up to the Bumper,” and who was a fixture at New York’s Studio 54, her partying seems less like a splurge and more like a form of exercise.

We’re not given any kind of chronology. We’re left to guess about what year it is or what city the shows are in. But concepts of time, space and location might actually be besides the point when your movie stars a Grace Jones who’s determined to look inward the way she does on “Hurricane,” the most obviously personal and autobiographical of her albums. And we watch Ms. Jones ruminate about the source of all that scariness and intimidation in her stage persona. It’s her abusive stepfather, and he’s got a hold on her still. This particular return to Jamaica appears to have stirred up a lot for her.

Grace Jones is an iconoclast, basically. And I imagine a downside of iconoclasm is you never get to be a human being. This is someone whose long career as a model, actress and undervalued musician has veered, sometimes uncomfortably, into both the sub- and superhuman.

Ms. Jones is at her most vampiric but also her most free. Recommended for the truest, die-hard fans of Grace Jones. For all others, read between the above lines.

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