Arts & Culture
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché (12A)
05 March 2021
Online | £7.50 - £10
Barbican: Cinema On Demand
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché, is based on the life of Poly, the first woman of colour in the UK to front a successful rock band, and introduced the world to a new sound of rebellion.
Poly Styrene (Marianne Elliot-Said) used her unconventional voice to sing about identity, consumerism, postmodernism, and everything she saw unfolding in late 1970s Britain. 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 diary entries, this documentary follows Celeste as she examines her mother’s unopened artistic archive and traverses three continents to better understand the icon and mother.
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How to watch I Am a Cliché
Please note this rental is only available within the UK
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The film is available to watch from Friday 5th March to Friday 2nd April 2021.
Header Image: Marianne Elliot-Said, AKA Poly Styrene by artist Paul Quinnell