If you’re looking for an encyclopedic portrait of Jamaican dub-disco-funk diva Grace Jones, Sophie Fiennes’s Bloodlight and Bami ain’t for you. (And, yes, Fiennes is a member of the Fiennes Dynasty.) If you want to know what motivated a black Caribbean woman to cover one of history’s most unnerving, robotic synth-pop tunes (the Normal's “Warm Leatherette”), you'll be disappointed. But if you want explorations into Jones’s humble Spanish Town roots, her durable family bonds and traumatic history, and ability to navigate the world’s glitziest nightlife scenes while still making vital music in her 60s, this documentary delivers.
Musical insights are scarce, however, as are observations about the film’s subject from her band members—including dub legends Sly & Robbie. Nevertheless, the concert footage (featuring exceptional versions of “Pull Up to the Bumper” and “Nipple to the Bottle”) and Grace’s dazzling costumes compensate for these voids.
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami plays at the Egyptian this weekend. For information, visit Movie Times.