Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliche

Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliche

A FILM BY: Celeste Bell, Paul Sng
WRITTEN BY: Zoë Howe
STARRING: Poly Styrene, Ruth Negga, Margaret Emmons

One Night Only 

Poly Styrene was the first woman of colour in the UK to front a successful rock band. She introduced the world to a new sound of rebellion, using her unconventional voice to sing about identity, consumerism, postmodernism, and everything she saw unfolding in late 1970s Britain, with a rare prescience. As the frontwoman of X-Ray Spex, the Anglo-Somali punk musician was also a key inspiration for the riot grrrl and Afropunk movements.

But the late punk maverick didn’t just leave behind an immense cultural footprint. She was survived by a daughter, Celeste Bell, who became the unwitting guardian of her mother’s legacy and her mother’s demons. Misogyny, racism, and mental illness plagued Poly’s life, while their lasting trauma scarred Celeste’s childhood and the pair’s relationship.

Featuring unseen archive material and rare diary entries narrated by Oscar-nominee Ruth Negga, this documentary follows Celeste as she examines her mother's unopened artistic archive and traverses three continents to better understand Poly the icon and Poly the mother.

Technical Information

Production Year: 2021
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Language: English
Run Time: 96 mins
Format: DCP