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  • Director

    Celeste Bell, Paul Sng

  • Run Time

    134 mins

  • Release Year


  • Country of Origin


  • Certificate

    12A - Contains infrequent strong language, moderate sex references, drug misuse.

  • Language


  • Subtitles


  • Format


Poly Styrene: I am a Cliché


Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard… rebellious punk rock icon Poly Styrene was not one of them! The first woman of colour in the UK to front a successful band, she introduced the world to a new sound of rebellion and used her unconventional voice to sing about identity, consumerism, postmodernism and more. As the front-woman 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 mother-daughter relationship.

Featuring unseen archive material and rare diary entries, narrated by Oscar®-nominee Ruth Negga, Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché follows Celeste’s journey to better understand Poly the icon and Poly the mother, examining her mother’s unopened artistic archive and traversing three continents to do so. This riveting and moving documentary records the life and legacy of a woman ahead of her time. 

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