Film — January 27, 2022 at 7:53 am

“Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché,” documentary on X-Ray Spex singer, hits theaters and streaming

Photo: Poly Doc Ltd. and Falcon Stuart

The long-in-the-works documentary “Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché” will make its commercial debut next week in the U.S. with a “one night only” nationwide theatrical screening followed by on-demand streaming availability, the film’s distributor announced.

The documentary about the frontwoman of the late-’70s U.K. punk icons X-Ray Spex is directed by Styrene’s daughter Celeste Bell and Paul Sng and follows Bell as she delves into her late mother’s personal and musical past, and sees the role misogyny, racism and mental illness played in Styrene’s life.

As a woman of color in the punk scene, Styrene — who died of cancer in 2011 at age 53 — served as a key inspiration to the riot grrrl and Afropunk movements. The X-Ray Spex lasted about three years in their original incarnation, releasing the anti-materialism anthem “Oh Bondage Up Yours!” in 1977 and the classic Germfree Adolescents album the following year. Styrene left music in the early ’80s to join the Hare Krishna movement.

The documentary about her life has been in the works for years, with the filmmakers having started crowdfunding the project in 2017. It’s available to stream in the U.K., but will make its U.S. theatrical debut with screenings nationwide on Tuesday, Feb. 2, before hitting video-on-demand services on Friday, Feb. 4.

Check out the trailer:





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