To direct a documentary about someone you don't know, but someone the public feels a strong sense of ownership over, as Asif Kapadia has done twice now – first with 'Senna' and now with 'Amy' - is pretty courageous. Reckless even. But perhaps it's exactly the kind of taste for risk you need when your subjects insist on playing dice with the devil?
In both cases, to accomplish this as intelligently and in such a profoundly moving way as Kapadia has done demands a very particular sensibility. His powers of empathy and perception run deep and his sonic antennae definitely twitch with the best of them. All the way through a film in which Amy is completely present and the director ostensibly absent, you quietly give thanks as he grasps the gift of every brilliant insight, however matter-of-factly given - and affords it proper theatrical significance. Just watch in 'Amy' for the way he announces the re-appearance of Blake Fielder-Civil in her life.
Kapadia also makes the crucial creative decision to allow Winehouse's lyrics to run across the screen as she sings, so that her voice – honest and autobiographical to the last – allows her to own her story posthumously, via her greatest passion: the music itself.
‘Amy’ begins and ends with the artist's extraordinary voice; a great gift, but possibly too heavy a burden, as one of her final comments suggests, for the price it finally exacted?