Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché

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Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché

Directed by Celeste Bell and Paul Sng, Documentary | English | 89 min
ON RELEASE MARCH 5 – PRE-ORDER NOW

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.

Please join us from the comfort of your sofa! We are working with our partners in the film industry to keep bringing you exceptional independent films and exclusive events while the cinema is temporarily closed. Plymouth Arts Cinema will receive 50% of the rental fee, so you will be supporting your local independent cinema by watching the film on this platform.

  • When you buy a ticket below (£9.99) you will have access to the film for 48 hours.
  • The film will also be available captioned for those who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing.
  • If you try to buy the film and see the message “Sorry, buyers in your location can’t purchase this item,” please try making the purchase via your phone instead. You will then be able to watch on your computer via the link that is sent to you via email.


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Temporarily ClosedIn accordance with the national lockdown, Plymouth Arts Cinema is currently closed. We very much hope to reopen again soon and will update you when we can. Thank you for your understanding. We hope you all stay safe and well.