Asif Kapadia, UK, 2015, 128'
On 23 July 2011, Amy Winehouse, born in London, joined the 'Forever 27', a tragic club of talented musicians including Brian Jones, Janis Japlin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain, who played their last notes way too young. In the documentary “Amy”, we see how the British singer of Jewish origin grew from aspiring jazz singer with her phenomenal voice and musical talent into a world star who wrote and sang from the very depths of her heart.
The rough diamond on the 2003 debut album Frank, unfortunately, proved to be an unguided missile. Along with her success, her personal problems increased steadily. The album Back to Black in 2006 catapulted the then 23-year-old Winehouse to the highest echelons of the music charts. Everyone was wild about the white singer with black voice, but unfortunately the paparazzi were also wild about Winehouse’s controversial drink and drugs-infused lifestyle and her destructive marriage with Blake Fielder-Civil. The album marked the start of her irreversible downfall.
Director Asif Kapadia brings this chronicle of an announced death in a very intriguing, almost intimate way. He uses only archive material and illustrates important events from her life with lyrics. The effect is that Amy does not only seem the subject but also the author of her own story. The witnesses interviewed off-screen are like a background choir of ghosts, while Amy is omnipresent and, ironically, full of life.