Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami opens with Miss Grace’s iconic Slave To The Rhythm, with the leady singing whilst using the hula hoop, same as when she appeared at the Queen’s Jubilee Concert in 2012 (below), making me smile so much I felt myself beaming from ear to ear as this began.
The film follows her tour, plus taking time out in Jamaica, filling in those slices of life inbetween the songs, and if you wondered how the title came about, in Jamaican patois, ‘Bloodlight’ is the red light which lights up when an artist is making a recording, while ‘Bami’ is bread – the substance of daily life.
Grace Jones is seen trying to make a new album, which she’s paying for herself, plus talking to musicians/producers Sly & Robbie, who let her down, so she lets them know in no uncertain terms… but then you always got the impression that she has a fiery character.
Similarly, in France – and in showing off some incredible hats, we see her in a TV studio, in what looks like the equivalent of Top of the Pops, where they want her to sing with her hat up and not covering her eyes… you want to tell Grace what to do? No way, Francais!
And of her comments on the set: “It looks like a brothel! I look like a lesbian madame! Give me a fucking break!”
If anyone’s going to tell it like it is, it’s Grace!
Other highlights include when she’s seeing huge number of fans outside her gig, waiting for signatures and selfies, and is asked, “Are you doing another movie?”. She replies, quick as a flash, “My own.”
Plus, recalling her famous interview with Russell Harty when she slapped him, “I don’t mind Russell, except the fact he died. I didn’t kill him(!)” I remember that when it happened! Such awesome TV. You can see the full interview below, and the incident comes up around 19-20 minutes in.
Some of the songs include: Williams’ Blood, Amazing Grace, This Is, La Vie En Rose, Love Is The Drug and the all-time-classic, Pull Up To The Bumper.
Occasionally, it loses direction, such as when she’s kicking off in a hotel room about a contract, around halfway through, as that’s left to go on too long, and is a scene that could easily be tightened up – the same for which could be said about some of the family-orientated clips, as there’s quite a lot of that, but this documentary certainly is more hit than it is miss.
Next year, Grace Jones is 70, and will have been performing for 45 years. You get the feeling she’ll be powering through the next 45 with ease. Her music is infectious, and I was dancing while watching it, albeit while sat down 🙂
Running time: 121 minutes
Studio: Trafalgar Releasing Ltd
Released: October 27th 2017
Director: Sophie Fiennes
Producers: Sophie Fiennes, Shani Hinton, Katie Holly and Beverly Jones
Herself: Grace Jones
The Grace Jones Band:
Keyboards, percussion: Charles Stuart
Keyboards: Don-E McLean
Percussion: Paulo Goude
Lead Guitar: Louis Eliot
Bass Guitar: Malcolm Joseph
Drums: Andrew McLean
Background vocals: Hannah Khemoh, Aleysha Gordon
Featured studio musicians:
Drums: Sly Dunbar
Bass Guitar: Robbie Shakespeare
Keyboards: Martin Slattery
Lead Guitar: Adam Green
Percussion: Uziah ‘Sticky’ Thompson
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.