DocNights: Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché 12A


This film is F-Rated

Celebrating the empowerment of women in the film industry. Read more >

Add to your watch list

From the archive

This film was last shown on 29 May 2023

Ahead of Tish opening this year’s Sheffield DocFest, revisit Paul Sng’s 2021 film, Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché.

As the frontwoman of X-Ray Spex, 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.

In the years since her death, Poly’s daughter, co-director Celeste Bell, became the unwitting guardian of her mother’s legacy and her mother’s demons. Misogyny, racism, and mental illness plagued her 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.

Including interviews with Thurston Moore, Kathleen Hanna, Vivienne Westwood, Neneh Cherry, Don Letts and more.

This screening will be introduced by a member of the Sheffield DocFest team.


Celeste Bell, Paul Sng
1 hour 40 minutes
Don Letts, Poly Styrene, Ruth Negga


We use cookies to help us provide you with a better service, but do not track anything that can be used to personally identify you. If you prefer us not to set these cookies, please visit our Cookie Settings page or continue browsing our site to accept them. Close