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CANNES 2015 – Film review: Brilliant, unutterably sad film depicts the descent of Amy Winehouse

Avoids simple-minded accusations over who was responsible for her death

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There is an unutterable sadness at the heart of Asif Kapadia’s brilliant new film about Amy Winehouse, the singer who died from alcohol poisoning in 2011 aged only 27.

Even in advance of its world premiere this weekend in a midnight screening at the Cannes festival, the film has been dogged by controversy. Amy’s father Mitch Winehouse has spoken on British television about his unhappiness with the documentary, which he claims is unbalanced and misrepresents his own role in his daughter’s life. One of the great strengths of Amy, though, is that it doesn’t indulge in simple-minded accusations about who may or may not have been responsible for Winehouse’s untimely death.

Why did Winehouse go off the rails? There were many, many contributory factors: her parents’ separation; her lifestyle when she moved to Camden; the wayward influence of her ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil; the pressure of the enormous fame after the release of her second album Back To Black; her often appalling treatment at the hands of the media and her own self-destructiveness, Kapadia realises that it is far too late now to be looking where to lay the blame.

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