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Mon, Feb 7 at 8:00pm


  • Dirs. Celeste Bell and Paul Sng
  • UK
  • 2022
  • 95 min.
  • NR
  • DCP
  • Assistive Listening
  • Hearing Loop

Part of Music City Mondays.

Mon, Feb 7 at 8:00pm: Introduction from punk photographer and fanzine publisher Theresa Kereakes | BUY TICKETS

Poly Styrene was the first woman of color in the U.K. 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, 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 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 rare diary entries narrated by Ruth Negga (PASSING), 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. (Synopsis courtesy of Indie Memphis Film Festival)

“...A compelling documentary about public and private lives and the human suffering that fame can trigger in the space in between” —Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Alliance of Women Film Journalists

“There was something authentically heroic about Poly Styrene.” —Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“What appears from the outset as another well-meaning and robust artist bio-documentary which offers a whistle-stop tour through a life lived at the vanguard of creative expression, is actually a fairly sad film about a daughter reflecting on the complex relationship she had with her late mother.” —David Jenkins, Little White Lies

See the Official Website