How am I like Amy Winehouse

In the beginning, carefree teenagers can be seen on the banister of an apartment with colorful lollipops in their mouths during a birthday party. “Come on, lick it!” The birthday child is asked from behind the camera - everyone laughs.

The recordings are from a dull, almost black and white camcorder video from the late 1990s. In the middle of the shot, the dark-haired birthday boy suddenly starts singing "Happy Birthday" and poses in front of the camera as if it had been a star for a long time.

The first scene in Asif Kapadia's new documentary Amy, which opens this week in British cinemas and will also be shown in Germany from July 16, changes with a jazzy rhythm. The beat becomes a song: "Moon river, against a mile I'm crossing you in style, some day ...", performed by 16-year-old Amy Winehouse, together with the British youth jazz orchestra.

A few scenes later, Winehouse explains to Guardian journalist Garry Mulholland, just before her first album makes her a world-famous singer: “I couldn't handle being famous. I would go crazy. "

private It is unreleased scenes like this that will surprise and move even die-hard fans of the star found dead in their apartment on July 23, 2011. But even those viewers who have so far only marginally followed the singer's career will inexorably be carried away by the life story documented in the film like a roller coaster without a happy ending.

And yet the film by the filmmaker, who became famous through the documentary about the Brazilian Formula 1 racing driver Ayrton Senna, can at best attempt to explain the circumstances that ultimately led to her untimely death. To this end, Kapadia interviewed over 100 people close to the singer and used numerous documents previously unknown to the public, such as private answering machine messages from Amy Winehouse.

Among the people surveyed are family members, friends, managers, musicians, but also doctors and psychologists. The approximately two-hour long film is an indictment against everyone who was involved in the exploitation of this young talent in order to enrich themselves.

Depressionen The film also reveals how Winehouse suffered from the separation of her parents, was prescribed antidepressants at the age of 13, and suffered from bulimia from the age of 15 until she died. However, the parents believed, at least at first, that all of this would pass sooner or later - a fatal assumption, as Winehouse's mother Janis admits today. Father Mitch also seems to have misunderstood his daughter for a long time. "I had the feeling that Amy got along well with the breakup," he says at one point in the documentary.

Both Mitch Winehouse and Amy's ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil, who openly admits in the film that he introduced the singer to the world of hard drugs, have since stated that the documentary misrepresents her. “It is disrespectful to say that I am some kind of Machiavellian puppeteer. Amy had problems before, ”says Fielder-Civil. Father Mitch complains that the film contains numerous factual errors and unfounded allegations against him and the management. And yet he also admits: "I have certainly made mistakes."

Among the quite a few dubious people in Amy Winehouse's life, her manager Raye Cosbert stands out in particular. His main interest seemed solely to be the perfect sequence of Winehouse's concerts - even when the singer was no longer allowed to perform for a long time.

exploitation Here Kapadia impressively manages to redefine one of the most famous moments in Amy Winehouse's life. Cosbert claims that Winehouse agreed to give a series of concerts in 2011. According to statements from all other people close to the singer, she did not want to go on stage with the old material, but rather work on a new album.

Nevertheless, Cosbert insisted on the concerts. Her performances earned him large sums of money. With no way of escaping the tour, Winehouse protested by the only means she could think of: by getting drunk. A companion reports how in 2011 Winehouse was dragged from bed in her own apartment into a taxi while she was asleep, chauffeured to the airport asleep and from there flown in a private jet to the concert in Serbia.

But the management's "The Show must go on" strategy failed: On the same evening, Winehouse blocked the audience in front of the camera and stumbled around on the stage instead of singing. The recordings of it ran on all television channels and became the mockery of the world. Winehouse, meanwhile, won a victory over their manager - the rest of the tour was canceled.

clarity A month long period of clarity followed. Winehouse largely avoided the booze and even called her old school friend Juliette Ashby. "She apologized for everything I had to go through," said the friend.

On July 24, 2011, the singer wanted to meet her and other friends at the wedding of her first manager Nicky Shamansky. On the morning of July 23rd, Amy Winehouse died of heart failure after a lonely night of drinking in her bedroom. The wedding guests invited from all over the world became the mourners. At the time of death, Winehouse's alcohol level was over four per thousand.

Tony Bennett, who had set the jazz number "Body and Soul" to music with her months earlier, describes Amy Winehouse in the film as one of the greatest jazz singers he has ever heard. “She was on par with Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. At least."

Without her addiction and depression, Amy Winehouse would not have created such personal lyrics as on the album Back to Black, which brought her to world fame. The obstacles in her life served as inspiration for her songs, which the documentation underlines impressively. What remains unanswered, however, is the question at which point Amy Winehouse's life took a wrong turn - and how this could have been prevented.

The film starts on July 16, 2015
The official trailer: