dir. Asif Kapadia
This was the first film I saw at the EIFF this year, and boy, what a good way to start. This documentary is incredibly powerful and deeply moving, and even today, two weeks after seeing it, I’m still thinking about it, the images still rolling around in my head. The documentary takes use to the very beginning of Amy’s career, before she signed a label, when she was just another young girl hoping to sing professionally. And, of course, with her astounding talent, she did make it, and we follow along with the help of testimonies by her friends playing over personal footage of her, and interviews with her.
The changes she goes through during her story are poignant. The filmmakers seemed to really dig deep into her life and uncovered some possible reasons for her going down spiralling into oblivion. Her relationship with her father — strained, painful, hopeful on her part, always looking for love, and selfish on his part, hoping to cash in on her talent — and also with her ex-husband Blake, who was also a catalyst to many bad things in her life, and one good — Back in Black. The documentary is told entirely through voice-over testimonies by her personal friends and family, and you can’t tell how loved she was, but also how damaged and used she was.
Amy’s journey is extremely saddening, and they portray it really effectively in this documentary. It’s one of the most interesting, engaging docs I’ve seen in a long time, and I would highly recommend it even if you’re not the biggest fan of Amy Winehouse, because it is a fascinating story that more people need to know about, especially since she has been criticised so much over the years.
review by Mariana Duarte