Grace Jones’s Blood Light and Bami documentary strips Grace down to more than just her essence but at times her bare skin. It is a raw look at the people and circumstances that helped define and create Grace Jones the icon. All this is intertwined with live performances of her new and classic songs. This is a must-see for all Grace Jones fans; but also a good watch for people interested in good documentary story-telling.
Blood light and Bami is an insightful journey into the person underneath the icon that is Grace Jones. The documentary follows her trip to see her family in Jamaica. It breaks the trip up with live performances of the album she recorded in Jamaica. Yet, in truth, a person does not need to be a fan of her music to enjoy the documentary. I certainly am not. However, the insight into her life, her mind, and her experiences are worth sitting through the songs. In part, the documentary gives greater insight into the performances you are watching.
I would say the documentary is especially emotive, for a viewer from a West Indian background. The moments with her family in Jamaica are experiences a lot of West Indian’s could really relate to. I found myself wishing for more of those moments to be shown rather than the performances. However, this feeling would be true for anyone with a yearning for ‘home’. A place where you are just another family member rather than your public or work persona. Overall, the documentary is colourful, raw, uncut and very much Grace Jones like. However, the insight into her past and off stage life is a brief look at the soul of one of the world’s most iconic stars.
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami is produced by Katie Holly (Love & Friendship, The Queen Of Ireland, Citadel) of Dublin-based Blinder Films, alongside Sophie Fiennes, Shani Hinton and Beverly Jones. The film is backed by BBC Films (Brooklyn, I Daniel Blake), the BFI (45 Years, Lady Macbeth), the Irish Film Board (Room, Love & Friendship) and Roads Entertainment (Being AP, Forever Pure).
Executive producers also include James Wilson (Under The Skin, Shaun Of The Dead, 20,000 Days On Earth), Francesca Von Hapsburg (Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present) and Émilie Blézat. The hats worn by Grace in the film are created by haute couture designer Philip Treacy. The staging for the performance sequences are based on the concepts designed for Grace Jones by Oscar-winning designer, the late Eiko Isioka.