Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché (2021)

Director: Celeste Bell, Paul Sng Run Time: 100 min. Release Year: 2021

Starring: Celeste Bell, Neneh Cherry, Poly Styrene, Ruth Negga, Youth

Country: United Kingdom
Language: English

“champions the bravery and defiance of an influential, singularly creative voice”

—Matthew Anderson for Cine-Vue

About the film:

Official Selection of SXSW 2021. Anglo-Somali singer Marianne Joan Elliott-Said, better known by her stage name, Poly Styrene, was the first woman of color in the UK to front a successful rock band, X-Ray Spex. A key inspiration for the riot grrrl and Afropunk movements, Poly used her unconventional voice to sing about identity, consumerism, postmodernism, and everything she saw unfolding in late 1970s Britain.

Featuring unseen archive material and rare diary entries narrated by Academy Award-nominee Ruth Negga, this documentary follows Poly’s daughter Celeste as she examines her mother’s unopened artistic archive and traverses three continents to better understand Poly the icon and Poly the mother.

About the filmmakers:

Paul Sng is a British-Chinese Singaporean documentary filmmaker and writer with a collaborative approach to storytelling. He founded Velvet Joy Productions in 2015 to amplify the voices of people who challenge the status quo, exploring the lives of the misrepresented and the marginalized. His documentaries have been broadcast on national television and screened internationally, and include Sleaford Mods: Invisible Britain, Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle and Social Housing, Social Cleansing. He also edited the photographic ethnography book “Invisible Britain: Portraits of Hope and Resilience”.

Sng co-wrote and co-directed Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché with the musician’s daughter, Celeste Bell, in her filmmaking debut.

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MAJOR SUPPORT
Ohio Arts Council
Greater Columbus Arts Council
The Columbus Foundation
Campus Partners
National Endowment for the Arts
WITH HELP FROM
G&J Pepsi
WOSU Public Media

Trailer