Magazine article Variety

Jones Finds Soulmate in Helmer Fiennes

Magazine article Variety

Jones Finds Soulmate in Helmer Fiennes

Article excerpt

"YOU HAVE to be high-flying bitch sometimes," says pop icon Grace Jones in TIFF Docs opener "Bloodlight and Bami," directed by Sophie Fiennes ("The Pervert's Guide to Ideology"). "I got that line from the movie," Jones laughs, referencing Taylor Hackford's 1995 Stephen King adaptation "Dolores Claiborne." "If you're a woman and you're tough, they call you a bitch! If you're a man and you're tough, that's a professional." She laughs again, a deep, generous chuckle that reverberates down the phone, speaking to Variety from her London home. "When a woman is being professional, she's considered a bitch."

"Bloodlight and Bami" sandwiches a concert film inside a flyon-the-wall documentary that follows Jones on the road and with family in her native Jamaica. (Bloodlight refers to the red light that illuminates when an artist is recording in the studio, while bami is patios for bread or daily sustenance.) The effect feels like a musical of Jones's life.

In the film, she comes across as tough, glamorous, elusive and very much on her own schedule. There are brief flashes of vulnerability, like a scene that sees her describe ex-husband Jean-Paul Goude as the only man to ever make her "weak at the knees." But Jones was hands-off when it came to shaping the film's portrayal of her. "I just thought, once we decided to do it together, that I would just let [Fiennes] do her thing. I never watched any of the footage. Never."

A long-term project that "molded itself," Jones trusted Fiennes to tell the story that she saw emerging from their time together (some "five years, on and off") rather than one borne from any kind of agenda. …

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