The concept of using a documentary to explore a public figure, like a musician or an artist or an actor, to illuminating effect is not a new one, but that does not mean that the subgenre of fact-based features is played out. Case in point: This new trailer for Asif Kapadi’s Amy, a Cannes premiere that chronicles the rise and fall—and, perhaps more importantly, the inner life—of Grammy-winning singer Amy Winehouse.
We have already gotten a look at Kapadi’s film, thanks to a haunting teaser trailer from last month, and while that was enough to inspire me to spill my guts regarding how much I was moved by Kapadi’s previous star-centric documentary, Senna, it still did not prepare me for the rapturous response the feature got out of Cannes, nor did it appear to hint at the full power of the film.
Amy now has a new trailer, and while it is kitted out with all kinds of Cannes praise (lots of glowing pull quotes, a veritable sky of four-star ratings), the real star of the show is Winehouse herself. Kapadi reportedly gathered hundreds of interviews and hours upon hours of archival footage in service to crafting a full-bodied look at the tragic singer, and the result appears to be an extremely intimate look inside her life. If you are at all familiar with gossip rags or tabloid papers, you surely remember how closely Winehouse was watched and reported on during her few years of fame. She was basically hunted, her every move watched and dissected, an approach to star reportage that is both gross and extremely distancing, and the difference between that sort of coverage and what will apparently see in Amy is profound.
The trail of the tape
Director: Asif Kapadia
Cast: Amy Winehouse
Release date: July 3
The entire trailer in one line of dialogue: “The world wanted a piece of her.”
The entire trailer in one screengrab:
Although the Winehouse family was initially supportive of the feature, they recently revealed that they object to the documentary, deeming it “unbalanced” and “misleading.” As Charles noted last month,“specifically, the family objected to what they perceive as the film’s statement that Winehouse’s family did not do all that they could have to prevent the decorated vocalist’s untimely demise,” which only adds another wrenching twist to this horrible tragedy. Although the Winehouse family was reportedly considering filing legal action against the film, that has yet to occur, and the film is still slated to debut in the U.S. and the U.K. on July 3.