As with his Formula One documentary Senna, filmmaker Asaf Kapadia cleverly uses archival footage to explore the wrenching story of Amy Winehouse. It's a strikingly journalistic approach that refuses to let anyone off the hook even as it draws out their deepest emotions. Lyrically edited by Chris King, the film is both beautiful and achingly sad, especially as it engulfs the audience on a big cinema screen.
A naturally gifted musician, Amy started writing her own songs at age 14 and had a publishing deal by 16, performing in small clubs as well as with the National Youth Jazz orchestra. At 20, her debut 2003 album Frank caused ripples in the industry with its jazz-infused vocals. And three years later, her follow-up Back in Black catapulted her into global stardom, something she never wanted. To escape the clamouring paparazzi and ever-larger audiences, she retreated into her on-off relationship with Blake Fielder, including a two-year marriage. But their key escape was to use large quantities of alcohol and drugs, which began to take a toll on Amy's career, leading to rambling interviews and shambolic stage appearances. In her lucid moments, she still had that raw power, and a series of rehab stints helped her conquer drugs. But in 2011, her alcohol consumption finally stopped her heart, which had been weakened by decades of bulimia.
Kapadia recounts this story using a staggering array of home movies, performance footage and press imagery, letting her prescient song lyrics play out across the screen as she performs them in homes, recording studios, TV shows and a variety of stages. Meanwhile, she tells her story in voiceover taken from interviews, plus new comments from her family, friends and colleagues. All of this is assembled with skill by the filmmakers to recount Amy's story chronologically, never shying away from the hard truths while refusing to let those closest to her adjust the material to revise history. In other words, it's sometimes brutally honest, not in the way it assigns blame but in the way it creates a portrait of a system that feeds off artists without properly looking out for them.
Continue reading: Amy Review
Ahead of the documentary about the singer's life, Winehouse's ex-husband has spoken to defend himself over his role in her addiction.
Blake Fielder, the former husband of the late Amy Winehouse, has denied that he “ruined” the singer’s life and rejected suggestions that he was responsible for her decline into addiction.
Winehouse, who died in 2011 at the age of 27, was married to Fielder (known then as Blake Fielder-Civil) from 2007 for two years, and the pair continued an on-off relationship for a couple of years afterwards despite the breakdown of the marriage. Fielder, now 33, is often blamed for introducing the Back To Black singer to hard drugs and beginning her spiral into substance and alcohol abuse.
Amy Winehouse with Fielder in 2007
Take a look at the haunting trailer for the new documentary about Amy Winehouse.
The first trailer for the upcoming documentary on Amy Winehouse has been released. Amy, directed by Asif Kapadia, looks like it's going to be haunting, chilling but ultimately heartbreaking. The documentary has been widely anticipated since the project was announced two years ago.
The promotional poster for Amy.
Amy Winehouse's ex appeared on the Jeremy Kyle show to talk about his life with Amy Winehouse and introducing the late singer to heroin
Amy Winehouse’s former husband Blake Fielder-Civil has appeared on the daytime TV show hosted by Jeremy Kyle and confessed that he was the person to introduce Amy to heroin, The Sun reports. “I'd taken it about three or four times, we were in a hotel in East London and I think I had about £10 of heroin with me, which is something I used to do after a club,” Blake explained. “I was smoking it on foil and she said, 'Can I try some?' I think I might have put up a weak resistance, the fact is whatever I said she did end up having some.”
Fielder-Civil was in jail when he discovered that Amy had passed away and told Kyle that he and Amy had discussed reuniting, despite the fact that he now had a new girlfriend and a son. “When I got discharged there was text messages on my phone from Amy. I don't know when they were from but there was one talking about being a godmother to Jack, we'd spoken about her visiting me and had an emotional phone call about how we were thinking about maybe getting together.”
In an interview reminiscent of Oprah Winfrey’s recent chat with Whitney Houston’s brother Michael, who admitted that he had been responsible for introducing Whitney to cocaine, Blake admitted that he felt responsible for Amy’s drug use. “I have to be really conscious about what I say because I don't want it to seem that I'm shirking responsibility… of course I regret it… It was the worst part of my life being with somebody that I love, having the opportunity of total happiness but being in complete misery."
Amy Winehouse’s headstone has finally been unveiled in Edgware, North London, and features the names of the singer’s closest family and friends. The Camden-based star’s collaborator Mark Ronson is mentioned, as is her soul singing goddaughter Dionne Bromfield.
The stone – inscribed with pink writing – carries a prominent tribute to Amy’s late grandmother Cynthia Levy, with the singer’s name featuring below. It reads, “Forever in the hearts of their devoted family”. The headstone also features a host of other colleagues and friends who were close to the singer, including manager Raye Cosbert, backing singers Zalon Thompson and Ade Omotayo and Dale Davis, her long-time bass player. Reg Traviss – her boyfriend at the time of her death – is mentioned, as is her best friend Tyler James, who most recently featured on the BBC singing contest The Voice. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Winehouse’s ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil is conspicuous by his absence on the headstone.
The unveiling of the headstone comes as a new box-set ‘Amy Winehouse at the BBC’ was announced. Set to hit shelves on November 12, the package includes a total of four discs, three of which are compilations of live performances.
Blake Fielder-Civil Wednesday 18th May 2011 leaving Leeds Crown Court after his case was adjourned until June (11). His bail conditions have been adapted to allow him to visit his newborn child. He was arrested for robbery and the possession of a gun in March (11) Leeds, England
Amy Winehouse, Blake Fielder-Civil and Grammy Monday 11th February 2008 arrives back at her hotel after visiting husband Blake Fielder-Civil at Pentonville Prison. Amy won five awards at last night's Grammys in LA. London, England