Grace Jones has done everything. She was one of the first supermodels, is arguably the most influential Jamaican musician since Bob Marley, and even starred in an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Now she has her own documentary, following her as she visits her Jamaican family, records music and tours the world.
60 at the time of filming, she remains on formidable form, able to give arresting performances which showcase the full power of her voice. It’s a startlingly intimate film, with Jones allowing herself to be shown settling disputes with reggae/dub legends Sly and Robbie, and even appearing fully nude.
There’s a sense that Jones would have risen to the top no matter what society she had been born into. It’s easy to imagine her as a Queen of Iceni fighting off the Romans in a chariot, or an Egyptian Pharaoh having 100ft statues erected in her honour, such is her aura.
She is able to communicate easily with anybody, whether trading patois banter in her homeland or chatting to a Paris taxi driver in fluent French. She knows how she likes things done and can be direct, but is always polite and respectful, bordering on apologetic when required to throw her weight around.
While it’s certainly short on narrative, preferring to let the footage speak for itself, director Sophie Fiennes (Ralph’s sister) nonetheless paints an intriguing portrait of Jones through the juxtaposition of her modest family life in Jamaica, against her powerful performances in major cities across the world.
As a result it’s a fascinating insight, even if most of what you know about Jones comes from Bebe Zahara Benet.