Amy (2015 122min.) [Ch4 12.10am saturday &+1]
Using archive footage, previously unseen material and contemporary interviews, director Asif Kapadia paints an intimate portrait of singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse, who died at the age of just 27.
Asif Kapadia's previous film was the superb documentary Senna (2010) and he used the same approach when putting together this biography of the doomed singer.
Once again there's no narration or on-screen talking head to guide you through the story ; it's told entirely through archive footage and specially filmed interviews with those who were close to the subject or important to their career during their time in the public eye.
As before you need to have no prior knowledge (or even liking of) the subject to be pulled into and enthralled by the story as it unfolds on screen : the meticulous construction and painstaking care taken with the film means that this is neither a hagiography nor a hatchet job - it's an informed, balanced and respectful look back on a life ended far too soon.
One of the most interesting aspects is how quickly Winehouse's very public failures became a staple of chat show, stand-up and TV panel games 'jokes' - some of the archive footage is very revealing of the nature of 21st. centruy celebrity culture : watching some of these routines back is very uncomfortable with the benefit of hindsight.
Amy is a remarkable film and the wealth of material that Asif Kapadia and his team assembled gives a real sense of depth to the story which they tell with real compassion and style.