EIFF 2015: Amy

Film Review by George Sully | 18 Jun 2015
Film title: Amy
Director: Asif Kapadia
Starring: Amy Winehouse (archive footage)
Release date: 3 Jul
Certificate: 15

Prior interest in the life, music and untimely passing of Amy Winehouse is not required for Asif Kapadia’s second documentary to floor you completely. Following the success of 2011’s Senna (itself no easy task), perhaps any subject in this director’s hands can be transformed into compelling, uncompromising storytelling.

Kapadia again takes a step back, letting the images and recorded interviews do the talking. It is an emotionally exhausting flood of scenes (featuring a wealth of unseen candid footage), but the editing is selfless and understated, and any foreshadowing is natural, rather than hammy. The film’s inherent tragedy resists perversion or sensationalism, and despite the sheer depth, intimacy and extent of the footage used, there is a delicacy and even-handedness with which her story is presented.

Some scenes are difficult to watch – Winehouse clearly inebriated on stage in Belgrade, in particular – and yet that selfsame difficulty hooks us. There will be wet eyes for sure, either from tears, or from simply forgetting to blink. [George Sully]

Amy screens at EIFF 2015:

18 June, 8.35pm, Filmhouse

20 June, 2.30pm, Filmhouse