Starring: Late Amy Winehouse with voiceovers from her family, friends and professional associates
Directed by Asif Kapadia
Asif Kapadia pieces together a heartbreaking film on British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse with reams of rare, unseen footage, home and holiday videos, voiceovers of family, friends and lovers, TV interviews and stage shows, even messages left on the phone and handwritten notes with lyrics. The tagline—the girl behind the name—is what the film is about. It’s about her phenomenal voice and songs but also about the personal, dysfunctional self, her addictions and illnesses and the inability to handle media attention. Kapadia shuns from using the talking heads and piece to camera format and knits together the footage in a linear way with voiceovers to make for a compelling narrative. There are some beautiful descriptions of her: “She was a very old song in a very young body”; “She was in a pure, emotional relationship with music, as if it were a person she’d die for”. Two phrases—“Goldfish in the bowl”, “The fear of losing the gravy train”—and the glare of cameras speaks of her tragic life, with its versions of ‘truth’. Kapadia remains non-judgmental, doesn’t buy into any one ‘truth’. All that he leaves you with is an incredible feeling of sadness, irrespective of whether you knew and liked her music or not.