Sophie Fiennes’s Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami is half concert film, half days-in-the-life documentary of a towering figure in pop music. The film assumes a passing familiarity with Grace Jones; there’s no tedious GJ 101, and her early struggles are implied by what we see of her old home and family in Jamaica now rather than through archival footage. Jamaica’s poverty contrasts with the posh English and French hotels Grace stays in while on tour, although her paying out-of-pocket for the costs of the record she’s working on tempers the opulence.
It’s probably a function of the film’s own budget as much as anything else, but Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami is stronger for not delving much into her past. We’re told that she once hitBBC chatshow host Russell Harty live on the air, but we don’t see it, and while watching the video “Grace Jones slapping Russell Harty live on air” on YouTube is time wells spent, how it occurred is less important than hear her recount it now. The result of the myriad forces at work in Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami is that while Ms. Jones is clearly human, she also comes across like the force of nature she is, a pure diva who never didn’t exist.
Opens Friday at the Embarcadero Center Cinema.