An intimate, overwhelmingly moving tribute to Amy Winehouse, the great young British soul singer whose talent and charisma brought her more fame than anyone might be able to handle. From the director of Senna.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2015
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“To hear Amy Winehouse sing numbers like ‘Back to Black’ and ‘Love Is a Losing Game’ in Asif Kapadia’s sensitive and extraordinary documentary Amy is to open yourself to an unsettling rush of grief and joy. Kapadia [Senna] has conducted interviews with key people in Winehouse’s life – including her ex-husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, and her longtime best girlfriends, Juliette Ashby and Lauren Gilbert – weaving them through performance and interview footage as well as personal videos and stills shot by friends, family, and colleagues. The result is a surprisingly seamless biographical documentary, one that, even though it’s been constructed largely from found elements, feels gracefully whole…
Kapadia presents Winehouse looking her best: we see her performing on Late Show with David Letterman, a glorious vision with Maria Callas eyes and Ronnie Spector hair, wearing a polka-dotted supper-club dress that makes her somewhat thoughtlessly placed tattoos look more glamorous, not less. But what really counts is the care Kapadia takes in showing Winehouse in her lowest moments…
Even if the last third of Amy is painful to watch, Kapadia takes care not to lose sight of the human being behind the mythology. In the beginning, she was just a Jewish girl from North London, with a bawdy sense of humor and a voice that carried hints, like subtle notes of perfume, of the singers who’d come before her. In the end, she was both ravaged and radiant, but Amy focuses mostly on the latter.” — Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice