On Monday night I was thrilled to be invited to a private screening of the film AMY with a Q&A with the producer himself, James Gay-Rees, after. It was hosted by Cinema Jam – a community of producers, directors and independent film makers in London.
Despite not being directly involved in the film industry myself, it was really inspiring to be around so many creative minds and a real treat to see such an iconic film with people so deeply involved in the industry!
AMY it is the 2015 documentary depicting the life and death of singer songwriter Amy Winehouse – not only was it a fascinating film about her rise to fame, not least of all for someone like myself who lives in Camden, the place in London she is most synonymous with – but, it’s actually a deeply moving illustration of love and the depths we will go to avoid the emptiness that loneliness brings.
As someone who writes about relationships, it was this that struck me most about the film. Despite her millions of adoring fans and worldwide adoration all she wanted was the approval of her father and the love of Blake Civil- Fielder, a man who, if the footage on the film is to be believed, picked her up and dropped her according to the levels of her fame and success – and yet she kept coming back for more. Hooked on the drugs they took together, hooked on the love and hooked on the constant chase of unrequited love.
It makes a painfully moving love story – the most classic and hideous of them all, one where the need for love and pain of not having it is so strong it takes over everything. It’s erratic and destructive and a stable ‘normal’ relationship is, of course, far more conducive to long-term happiness, but that level of passion is deeply compelling – love that becomes all-consuming – call it an addiction, call it co-dependancy but there is something fascinating about loving that passionately – giving your heart so completely to someone, despite yourself and the consequences.
The romance between Amy and Blake was chaotic, but they had fireworks and passion, and in a society when, too often, people settle, when they sacrifice passion for reliability and comfort, AMY shows us a relationship that was based on nothing more than raw chemistry. Amy Winehouse was a ground-breaking artist but also someone who followed her heart, who chose passion over comfort – authenticity over pleasing people.
Regardless of whether you are a fan of her music or not, the film AMY is a modern-day love story, not to be missed – compelling, heartbreaking and utterly real.
About Cinema Jam – Working in film is fun, but it can make your social life irregular at best. That’s where Cinema Jam comes in. We are a community of directors, producers and film freelancers centred around a private monthly event – the Jam Session. We also run semi-regular public events to bring together our professional community and the film-loving public.