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Amy Winehouse 2

Directed by: Asif Kapadia

In Amy, the tumultuous life and untimely death of the singer Amy Winehouse is chronicled in an onslaught of images both high and low-res.  Though she was an old soul, early in life she descended into a fatal addiction to drugs and alcohol, all during the rise of the smartphone. Director Asif Kapadia uses the plethora of video and still images of Winehouse’s decline to show a woman surrounded by sharks.

Many of those sharks– the paparazzi, her boyfriend-turned-husband Blake Fielder-Civil, a camera crew hired by her father Mitch Winehouse– are the ones recording the footage Kapadia uses, which makes watching the end product a kind of double-edged sword.  Would such an intimate, affecting portrait be possible without these monsters?  A particularly disturbing passage comes when Winehouse goes to rehab with Fielder, something that a doctor interviewed for the documentary says never should have happened. Fielder films her as a friend does her hair, asking her to sing an updated version of her hit single “Rehab.”  He wants to hear her say “Yes, yes, yes,” to admit defeat in front of the camera and reverse the defiant “No, no no” of the song’s chorus.

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