Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.
A documentary on the life of Amy Winehouse, the immensely talented yet doomed songstress. We see her from her teen years, where she already showed her singing abilities, to her finding success and then her downward spiral into alcoholism and drugs.Written by
Amy Winehouse's immediate family were initially willing to work with the film's producers and director, having heard about the success of their earlier documentary, Senna (2010). They granted the filmmakers access to hours of archive footage of Amy and her family, as well as giving the filmmakers' their blessing to interview Amy's family and friends. However, they - in particular, Amy's father, Mitch Winehouse - soon began to feel they were being misrepresented in the documentary, that the negative aspects of Amy's life were receiving much more attention than the positive, and that footage had been edited in order to produce an inaccurate narrative of Amy's story, especially the last three years of her life. Mitch Winehouse has said that Amy's fans should consider seeing the film for the rare, previously unseen, archive footage of his daughter, but should pay no attention to the film's general portrayal of her, which he has labeled "preposterous". Even after the film was nominated for an Academy Award as 'Best Documentary', Mitch Winehouse tweeted on 14 Jan. 2016: "Still hate the film though." See more »
Amy performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival in 2004. At the time the festival was still in The Hague. (And not -yet- in Rotterdam, as the movie states.) She performed at one of the stages in the basement. See more »
I became aware of Amy in 2004. I'm a big jazz fan and I really liked what she was doing. I thought it was unique, I thought it was edgy. And sincere. And that's the thing I like most about Amy. She didn't have any airs. She was real... She was just a charming, sweet lady. I had a bit of a crush on her, to be honest. She was raw, she was fast with a blue joke, could drink anybody under the table, wasn't afraid to roll a smoke. Had a big, giant laugh, and was just a sweetheart, you know?
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I saw this at the NXNE festival in Toronto last night. The movie was quite long, I must admit I was exhausted when I left. Not in a negative way, but overwhelmed at everything I had seen. The director had a lot of material to give us and he didn't hold back. The scene that I found the most powerful was the one in the recording studio with Tony Bennett, it was pure magic. I can't say that I followed Amy Winehouse, or was very familiar with her work, other than the song 'Rehab'. I did love her hairdo, it reminded me of the Ronettes. I am always fascinated by artists and how they develop.
We get a close up of Amy's artistic process. Her power was in her ability to constantly come up with song material that resonated with her at the deepest level and put those words to music. Combine this with a unaffected personality and an amazing ability to connect with an audience and you have a true force of nature. On the negative side, she had to deal with her personal daemons from her childhood. The tragedy was her use of drugs and alcohol. One gets the feeling from the movie of an almost inevitability of her path, but I guess that is always debatable.
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