Kumu Documentary: Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Dir Celeste Bell, Paul Sng
UK 2021, 96 min
Introduction by Aimar Ventsel.
The lead singer of the English punk band X-Ray Spex, Poly Styrene (real name Marianne Joan Elliott-Said), was one of the witnesses of an early performance by the Sex Pistols in a half-empty concert venue. Although she didn’t want to be like the Sex Pistols, this event changed her life. The young part-Somali woman became a singer and saxophone player and was later seen as a punk icon. On stage she screamed about the injustices connected with identity and social standing, but outside of concerts she was disarming and delightful.
Styrene, who died of breast cancer in 2011, stood out as a black woman in a world dominated by white men. At a time when the most popular punk bands had names like the Sex Pistols, The Exploited, the Ramones and in Estonia Generaator M, the punk scene was slowly being infiltrated by bands containing at least one woman. X-Ray Spex was one of the most significant examples. Poly Styrene, whose songs were ahead of their time and didn’t adhere to the existing standards, turned the band into a legend.
In the documentary about the late singer, her daughter Celeste Bell talks about her mother critically but with wonder and love. We see archive footage of the punk movement in the middle of the 1970s that proves that Poly Styrene was far more than a mere cliché.
NB! Due to the spread of the virus, please note that we ask all visitors 12 years of age and older to present documents related to the COVID-19 virus with an ID before entering the auditorium. Read more about the regulations.