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By Lisa McGill
Observer Staff Writer 

Interview With Sophie Fiennes: Director Of The New Documentary, "Grace Jones: Bloodlight And Bami"

The Film Has An Exclusive One-Week Run At The Nuart Theater In West Los Angeles Beginning On April 20

 

April 17, 2018

Daniel Margolis

Portrait of Sophie Fiennes, Director of "Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami".

"Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami" is a fascinating documentary that provides an intimate glimpse into the life of iconic singer, actress, and model Grace Jones; the film lifts the veil and showcases the superstar as both a woman and artist.

Grace Jones has a vast discography spanning over four decades, including the hits, "La Vie en Rose", "Slave to the Rhythm", "Nipple to the Bottle", and "My Jamaican Guy". She is a headliner at music festivals and, to this day, sells out large venues like the Hollywood Bowl. As an actress, Grace Jones starred as a Bond girl in "View to a Kill", co-starred with Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Conan the Destroyer", and appeared with Eddie Murphy in "Boomerang". She has also appeared on the covers of "Elle", "Vogue", and "Interview Magazine", and was a frequent model and muse for the late fashion designer, Azzedine Alaïa.

The film's director, Sophie Fiennes, is a documentarian who, in collaboration with philosopher Slavoj Zizek, produced "The Pervert's Guide to Cinema" (2006) and "The Pervert's Guide to Documentaries" (2012). She also produced a documentary about German artist, Anselk Keifer, entitled "Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow" (2010).

The Santa Monica Observer had the opportunity to sit down with Sophie Fiennes on March 17th to discuss "Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami".

SMO: "How did your collaboration with Grace Jones come about?"

FIENNES: "Grace saw the film ["Hoover Street Revival"(2001)] that I had made about her brother's Pentecostal Church Community here in LA and she loved the film because it looked at her brother's work and at the [Pentecostal] Church Community that had been a huge part of her life. If you look over interviews with her going way back, she always referred to it, but nobody has really gotten behind that part of her. She said, 'You understand where I'm from,' because I am a very visual filmmaker and she is a very visual person. I tried to really put you inside her point of view. I liked flipping the perceived opinion about here's Grace Jones -- the object of our gaze... We look at Grace Jones... this person... this image of a person. But what does she see looking at the world? I tried to see through her eyes – be in her skin."

"Grace comes from the era of Warhol and it's colorblind. It's about sensibility and that sensibility bursts apart any identities that are constructed in identity politics. It's a space where you are demanding absolute freedom. Grace's generation and certainly Andy Warhol's generation – they were coming out of an era that was very repressive. So to all find themselves partying in New York -- it's about exploring and having fun."

SMO: "You shot the film over many years. Did you and Grace have a shooting schedule?"

FIENNES: "No, I just had my bag and my tapes and my documentary-filmmaker's kit. Grace would just call me and say, 'I'm gonna be doing this, do you want to come? I'm gonna be doing that, do you wanna come?' And I would make sure I got to every place that she was suggesting I go. It was about collecting material... building up a library of moments. My love of documentary is the creation of the document of the moment. Grace made this brilliant, radical decision to give away control. It's not like I was in control. It was life. Who is in control of life? You just try to be a good witness."

SMO: "How many hours of footage did you shoot in total?"

Kino Lorber

Movie still from "Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami". Photo courtesy of Kino Lorber.

FIENNES: "I think I shot 210 tapes. But you can have one tape that's got a lot of material and then you can spend ages in a situation that you think was fun but you actually just have one shot from it in the film."

SMO: "Grace seems incredibly loyal to the people she has worked with in the past. Is there any chance that you and Grace will collaborate again in the future?"

FIENNES: "She is actually suggesting that. She is a very generous collaborator."

SMO: "Thanks for sitting down with us."

FIENNES: "My pleasure."

"Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami" has an exclusive, one-week run at the Nuart Theater in West Los Angeles from April 20 to April 26, after which time it will open to a wider release. Tickets are available at http://www.landmarktheaters.com.

 

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