Winehouse documentary reveals 'inflammatory' relationship with her father, drugs and fame
Audience members at Cannes screenings of Asif Kapadia's documentary were left emotional over 'missed opportunities' to save the singer's life
An explosive documentary has laid bare the intimate details of Amy Winehouse's rise and fall, with an inflammatory investigation into her relationship with her father, drugs and fame.
The film, entitled Amy, has premiered at Cannes Film Festival despite criticism from the singer's father, and left audience members emotional after hearing details of her upbringing, love affairs and prescient insight into the perils of fame.
It shares the final conversations she had with friends before she died, aged 27, from alcohol poisoning, including poignant regrets about being in the spotlight.
Friends and colleagues of the singer share the brutal details of her drug use, as well as what they believe to be missed opportunities to have saved her.
It features uncomfortable allegations from Winehouse herself about her father's absence in her childhood, as well as reported conversation in which she is said to have blamed his affair for her own behaviour.
Mitch Winehouse, who has strongly objected to elements of the final film, also contributes, with archive footage of him arguing with his daughter over her treatment of fans, and an admission that he did not initially believe she needed rehab.
At one point, the film shows footage of a dispute with Winehouse after her father brought a film crew to her retreat in St Lucia, with friends claiming she believed he was telling her story for money.
An interview recorded with Winehouse at the beginning of her career sees her tell the world he was "never there for the important bits" of her childhood, before she went "off the rails" at the age of nine when her parents separated.
Blake Fielder, the singer's ex-husband who was imprisoned on drug charges, claimed that, when asked about her "promiscuity", "she said her dad leaving her mum was what caused this".
Winehouse's mother, Janis, further discloses that the young singer confided in both parents about the beginnings of bulimia when she was a teenager, but that neither had paid it enough attention.
As well as a history of Winehouse's rise to fame and very public demise, the film features conversations with her closest friends, who broke down in tears as they relayed her troubles.
Her bodyguard Andrew Morris, who found her body, disclosed what would have been one of her final conversations, in which she told him: "If I could give it all back and walk down that street with no hassle, I would."
Footage of one of the singer's earliest interviews shows her saying: "I don't think I'm going to be famous. I don't think I could handle it. I'd probably go mad."
The two-hour-long film is the most controversial of Cannes so far this year, and has already been roundly criticised by those close to the late star, with Mr Winehouse publicly calling the filmmakers "idiots" and using a newspaper interview to proclaim it "biased and extremely hurtful".
He added: "This is not what Amy would have wanted. She wouldn't want our relationship to be portrayed this way."
He has said he feared he would not be able to walk down the street "without someone punching me in the face" after it is released, taking issue with the way scenes had been edited.
The family had initially backed the project and provided footage of the singer in her younger days, but withdrew their support as it neared completion.
Reg Traviss, who was in a relationship with Winehouse at the time of her death, called it a "fictionalised biopic centred around a distorted depiction of Amy’s life", saying the edited footage had upset him.
The portrayal of her father, he told the Telegraph, was "quite despicable".
As the documentary was released, film-makers issued a robust response to questions about the project in carefully-prepared publicity material, insisting they took on the project with the "full backing" of the family.
They claim the final edit is a "film about love", showing an artist who "needs love and doesn't always receive it".
James Gay-Rees, the producer, said "certainly none of the people who were really close to her" wanted to speak on record initially, taking a "vow of silence" after her funeral.
They later persuaded some of her closest friends to talk, compiling around 100 interviews over the course of a year. Some of the conversations were recorded in the dark, filmmakers have disclosed, to allow participants to speak freely without feeling self-conscious.
“It was like therapy for them in some way,” the director Asif Kapadia said. “There were a number of people who were becoming unwell because they were carrying this burden about Amy, knowing what they knew."
He admitted the experience "took an awful lot out of all these people", but insisted he built trust over the course of filming and played interviews back to his contributors.
The film has premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and was awarded four stars by the Telegraph.
The Winehouse family has issued a robust statement in response to the film, claiming "it is both misleading and contains some basic untruths".
"There are specific allegations made against family and management that are unfounded and unbalanced," they added. "The narrative is formed by the testimony of a narrow sample of Amy’s associates, many of whom had nothing to do with her in the last years of her life. Counter views expressed to the filmmakers did not make the final cut."