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The Amy Winehouse documentary is a sensitive, riveting and revealing story about a talented singer that couldn't cope with fame and her personal life. It is a must see worth watch… - (tom.beetz photo)



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James Loving - National Radio Text Service



The Amy Winehouse documentary is a sensitive, riveting and revealing story about a talented singer that couldn't cope with fame and her personal life. It is a must see worth watch…


Sunday, July 03, 2016

DEAD @ 27

When I received a press release on Amy Winehouse's then new release Back to Black album, quite frankly I didn't have a clue who she was. Appearances on television shows followed that showcased her talent. When she passed away at the young age of 27 the shit then hit the fan regarding her problematic life.

This week Fox Movies Premium in Asia has been televising a documentary titled Amy, about her life and it is quite revealing for those of us that didn't know. The doc has video clips of her from a small child of about four years old to her demise as a drug addict.

The videos include personal types shot by friends, concert footage and television interviews. What makes this doc such a must see is the filmmaker masterfully weaved the interviews with the music clips seamlessly. There isn't a glitch throughout the doc.

Winehouse's story is sad depicting a young chubby pot smoking teenage Jewish girl from North London whose close friend coaxed her into pursuing a music career. From the start she wasn't enthused about taking such a step but her friend persisted and succeeded.

As she gained success she had problems dealing with the attention and fame and admitted that she feared becoming famous because she felt that she couldn't deal with it. In the end she was right.

Personal problems with her boyfriend became an issue that eventually led to her death. He got her involved with heavy drugs including heroin. They married and her drug problems increased due to his influence.

Rehab was recommended for her which she opposed. She tried it and the song Rehab resulted from the experience. When her husband was jailed she was devastated and started excessively drinking alcohol. She started dating men when her husband was incarcerated and it was publicized. He lost the plot and divorced her. That embellished her misery and increased drug use to the point where she appeared at concerts drunk and stoned and couldn't perform. That was the gateway to the end of her life.

Her tours started not to go well. In November 2007 the opening night of a 17-date tour was marred by booing and walkouts at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham. A critic for the Birmingham Mail said it was "one of the saddest nights of my life...I saw a supremely talented artist reduced to tears, stumbling around the stage and, unforgivably, swearing at the audience."

Other concerts ended similarly, with, for example, fans at her Hammersmith Apollo performance in London saying that she "looked highly intoxicated throughout," until she announced on 27 November 2007, that her performances and public appearances were canceled for the remainder of the year, citing her doctor's advice to take a complete rest. A statement issued by concert promoter Live Nation blamed "the rigors involved in touring and the intense emotional strain that Amy has been under in recent weeks" for the decision. Mitch Winehouse wrote about her nervousness before public performances in his 2012 book, Amy, My Daughter.

The beginning of the end came about when on 11 February 2011; Winehouse cut short a performance in Dubai following booing from the audience. Winehouse was reported to be tired, distracted and "tipsy" during the performance.

On 18 June 2011, Winehouse started her twelve-leg 2011 European tour in Belgrade. Local media described her performance as a scandal and disaster, and she was booed off the stage due to her apparently being too drunk to perform. It was reported that she was unable to remember the city she was in, the lyrics of her songs or-when trying to introduce them-the names of the members of her band.

The local press also claimed that Winehouse was forced to perform by her bodyguards, who did not allow her to leave the stage when she tried to do so. She then pulled out of performances in Istanbul and Athens which had been scheduled for the following week. On 21 June, it was announced that she had canceled all shows of her tour and would be given "as long as it takes" to sort herself out.

Also included in the film is footage from when she was recording her second album in March 2006 and a duet single, "Body and Soul", with Tony Bennett in March 2011 as her last recording before her death. Some outtakes are also featured of her last shambolic performance in Belgrade, Serbia, a month before she died. The film concludes with long-term friend Juliette Ashby talking about her last phone call with Winehouse, footage of Winehouse's body being taken out of her home after her death, and Bennett stating: "Life teaches you really how to live it, if you live long enough."

Winehouse's last public appearance took place at Camden's Roundhouse, London on 20 July 2011, when she made a surprise appearance on stage to support her goddaughter, Dionne Bromfield, who was singing "Mama Said" with The Wanted. Winehouse died on 23 July 2011.

Amy is a riveting, sensitive documentary qualifying it as a must watch. In her passing at the age of 27 she joins a list of music superstars including Jimmy Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin who also died from excessive addiction to alcohol and drugs at the age 27.

The documentary was released in the United Kingdom on 3 July 2015 and worldwide on 10 July. The film received its première at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival on 16 May and has been reviewed as "a tragic masterpiece", "brilliant", "heartbreaking" and "unmissable". The soundtrack of the same name was released on 30 October 2015, along with the DVD that includes music featured in the documentary by film composer Antônio Pinto and classic tracks by Winehouse.

The film has received various accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 2016 Oscars, Best Music Film at the 2016 Grammy Awards, and the BAFTA for Best Documentary, the MTV Movie Award for Best Documentary. In addition the documentary received a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best British Film. The success of the film has also led Winehouse her second posthumous nomination for Best British Female Solo Artist at the 2016 Brit Awards.

The bottom line is this documentary comes alive with the use of personal video footage brilliantly blended in with TV and concert film. It gave us the feeling that we personally knew her.

The documentary film was directed by Asif Kapadia and produced by James Gay-Rees, George Pank, and Paul Bell. It was co-produced by Krishwerkz Entertainment, On The Corner Films, Playmaker Films, and Universal Music, in association with Film 4.

For a music fan it is a video library must keep. For those that didn't know about or weren't familiar with Amy Winehouse you will after viewing this doc. The other message it sends is a lesson in life is converse, about how not to fuck your life up.


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