Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami ★★½

At its best when its titular subject is fierce, sassy, and telling people off or telling stories that capture the twenty-four party of her past. Grace’s overwhelming charisma and comfort in seemingly any company cannot be denied, but is it enough to sustain a formless two-hour documentary? Lacking the formal guidance and structure of a more traditional doc, BLOODLIGHT AND BAMI adopts more of a fly-on-the-wall approach, trusting that the mix of concert footage, hotel room shenanigans, and time spent with family in Jamaica really needs no explanation by way of narration, intertitles, or superimposed text clarifying the identity of those onscreen. The loose connection between every segment is the preparation for her latest album, 2008’s Hurricane; in that sense, the film isn’t even really a proper promo for something coming down the pipeline. It’s already ten-years-old. That’s kind of perplexing to me, esp. considering the film doesn’t seem to have a goal greater than self-promotion. Besides, some of its ‘behind the scenes’ sequences feel performative in a negative sense: done for the audience’s sake, but without an acknowledgement of the audience (or, direct address). Plus, it’s just too long. My advice: skip the film and find the inevitable YouTube clips of the few segments that offer merit - a performance in France; Grace shucking oysters; and, champagne-drunk, reminiscing about the old times, wild as they must've been.