Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché

Screening Dates:
Sat 31 July 12:01am

Sponsored by CityFibre

Directors: Celeste Bell, Paul Sng
Starring: Poly Styrene, Celeste Bell, Ruth Negga, Kathleen Hanna, Neneh Cherry

Available to stream at home from Friday 5 March

Intimate, unflinching and ultimately triumphant, Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché uncovers the story of trailblazing musician Poly Styrene – the first woman of colour in the UK to front a successful rock band.

Poly 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 both her mother’s legacy as well as her demons.

The misogyny, racism, and mental illness that plagued Poly’s life also scarred Celeste’s childhood and her relationship with her mother, leaving lasting trauma that took years to heal. 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 not only Poly the icon, but Poly the mother.


Stream on demand for £9.99. You’ll have 48 hours to watch the film. 50% of the streaming fee goes towards supporting Northampton Filmhouse.

Please note, while Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché is listed on our website and we receive a share of the rental fee, the purchasing and rental agreement is between you and the film distributor for each movie.