THE AFRICAN DESPERATE tracks one very long day for Palace Bryant (an expertly deadpan Diamond Stingily), a newly minted MFA grad whose last 24 hours in art school become a real trip. Palace is not going to the f-ing graduation party! She hates the woods. If this were a reality show, she would be the person who was not here to make friends. Palace needs to get home, back to Chicago from upstate New York. But that means surviving a hazy, hilarious and hallucinatory night-long odyssey, stumbling from academic critiques to backseat hookups. The electrifying feature debut from renowned artist Martine Syms, THE AFRICAN DESPERATE brings her razor-sharp satire and vivid aesthetic inventiveness to a riotous coming-of-age comedy.
“Syms captures all the subtle signifiers of upper-middle-class-liberal art culture, from Asai tops to Rimowa suitcases. If you know, you know — and you’re invited to the party…. Witty, sharp, and right on the mark, this is social commentary for the art world like we’ve never seen it before.” —Róisín Tapponi, Vogue “Shot by Daisy Zhou — a palette in turns lush and lurid, where the woods’ greens vie with the party’s neons — THE AFRICAN DESPERATE is peppered with all kinds of GIFs, memes, bold fonts, and reaction videos…. These ruptures also speak to the film’s larger concern: to reclaim the screen and tease out its limits; to redefine and defy the medium, and what can be conveyed through it…. An electrifying, riveting odyssey.” —Leonardo Goi, The Film Stage