Maysles Cinema Wednesdays at Nowadays Presents:
Asif Kapadia, 2015, 128 min
This documentary opens with home-video footage from 1998, in which a mischievous and vibrant young Amy impersonates Marilyn Monroe on the evening of her friend’s 14th birthday. It ends just 13 years later with her funeral in 2011, drugs, booze and bulimia having taken their toll on her birdlike frame. In between, we listen with rapture to some spine-tingling music (Winehouse’s voice was extraordinary from the outset), watch her pour her heart and soul into writing songs that would capture the attention of the world and despair at the chain of events that cut short such a prodigious talent. Like Kapadia’s award-winning Senna, which similarly charted life and death in the fast lane, Amy eschews on-camera interviews for illustrated audio, the voices of interview subjects accompanying a brilliantly edited kaleidoscope of archive footage culled from video cameras, mobile phones, newsreels and TV shows.