Director: Sophie Fiennes
As with her recent/ish memoir (a mostly great read) here Grace Jones is self-mythologising. And rightly. Wisely. More than fair enough. She’s singular – her impact felt across fashion and music and (to a lesser degree) both the big and small screen. She’s a visual artist. She’s also been a socialite – but with actual talent/s. She’s fascinating. The figure she cuts, the impact she has, the respect she commands, the presence, her essence – all of it remains a giant mystery. A huge, fascinating mystery.
Where did she come from? Why doesn’t she age? How come she sounds every bit as good as she always has? There are no cracks – in the face or in the act. And, as Sophie Fiennes cleverly shows, compiling five years of footage without any real interest in editing to a strict timeline, it’s very much an act. All of it an act. Even when Grace Jones isn’t on, she’s on. And even when she catches herself in the act she reverts right back to the role after only ever briefly breaking out.
She hula-hoops her way through Slave To The Rhythm – a stunning feat, elevating a circus-trick to high-art and at the least something conceptual, thematic, hypnotic. Her accent fluctuates depending on who she speaks to. She gets disconnected from Robbie Shakespeare, desperate to sort a booking for her then-comeback album. She is self-conscious, for a second only, as she flaunts her connections only to have one of them seemingly hang up on her.
She spits venom – then laughs about how poisonous she can be. Then spits more venom.
None of it makes sense. And yet all of it makes sense.
She’s a strange phenomenon.
We even get – as with her memoir – some insight into her tough childhood.
The disappearing act of dressing up and playing characters – on various stages, in front of many flashing cameras, on catwalks and in theatres – that’s been her way out. And we can’t ever get a full way in. Just tantalising glimpses. Just a few hints. Just enough to keep us forever intrigued.
You can support Off The Tracks via PressPatron