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‘Amy’ Filmmaker Talks Building Tension When the Audience Already Knows the Ending

Director Asif Kapadia talks to Indiewire about his critically-acclaimed Amy Winehouse documentary Amy, which premiered at Cannes this week.

Explains Kapadia, “The biggest problem in fiction is, ‘I don’t know how you’re going to end it.’ What do you want the audience to feel? Here, you know where it’s going, so that’s one element that’s a given. I pretty much go into all of these films with a blank piece of paper — I don’t have a script, I don’t have an agenda, I don’t know anything.mThat’s my style of directing: I know nothing. I stumble through and then things happen, and then I’m like the audience, like, ‘Oh, that’s interesting, that’s not really interesting.’ With this, you see that early footage: She was funny; she was happy; she was healthy; she has amazing eyes. Straight away, you can see this journey. How do you go from there to there in such a short space of time? That was a big part of it, and then another big revelation were the lyrics [of her songs]. Like, the answer was there in front of us the whole time. We just didn’t bother to listen carefully enough. Sometimes that’s really helpful: The audience doesn’t have this question mark of, ‘How are they going to finish this?’ They’re not trying to second-guess it. They’re going with you. They know where it’s going, which actually brings more tension. It makes it heavier. Because you know, when you see her happy, where it’s going to go. For a shot moment, hopefully, you forget and then you go, ‘Oh, here we go.'”

Read the full story here.