Black Punk Weekend – Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché [In-Person Only]

This event took place on Mar 31, 2024

$14 General Admission
$10 Student/Child/Senior
$7 NWFF/SeaDoc Members

Celeste Bell & Paul Sng
United Kingdom
1h 36m


(Celeste Bell & Paul Sng, United Kingdom, 2021, 96 min, in English)

Poly Styrene was the first woman of color 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 archival 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.

Synopsis courtesy of Tyke Films. Still image credits can be found in file names; archival stills are courtesy of BBC Arena, contemporary stills (of Poly’s daughter) are courtesy of Poly Doc Ltd.

… as compelling, mysterious, moving and inspiring as Poly’s own pop art.” – Stephen Troussé, UNCUT

“Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché mixes the personal with the historical to produce a documentary of profound impact and style.” – James Hanton, Outtake Mag

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