It’s a curious, but enchanting contrast: Poly Styrene, frontwoman of the English punk band X-Ray Spex. One minute she’s a true punk, fiercely spewing her socially critical lyrics all over the audience. But offstage she turns out to be a gentle and calm woman in constant battle with herself and the world around her.

Poly Styrene, who passed away in 2011, stood out as the UK’s first frontwoman of color in a successful punk band in the 1970s. She wrote songs on subjects that were ahead of her time, refusing to conform to  gender norms. Poly was a source of inspiration for Afropunk movements and women in the music world. However, auctioned off by threats of racism, misogyny and her own mental demons, Poly struggled to reconcile her rock star life and her existence as a wife and mother. In the poignant Poly Styrene: I’m a Cliché, her daughter Celeste Bell goes in search of her mother’s real story, both critically and lovingly. Celeste opens Poly’s closed diaries, visits her mother’s homeland and shows archive material from the punk scene of the 1970s. Everything to better understand her mother ánd the icon Poly Styrene.

Poly Styrene was a welcome guest at VERA Groningen. The documentary will thus be accompanied with live music by garage punk duo Hands Off and beautiful stories about this legendary woman. This evening is made possible in collaboration with International Filmfestival Assen.