The African Desperate

New York Times Critics' Pick
97 mins.
Directed by Martine Syms

“Yo, Palace!”

THE AFRICAN DESPERATE tracks one very long day for Palace Bryant (an expertly deadpan Diamond Stingily), a newly minted MFA grad whose final 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 invention to a riotous coming-of-age comedy.

“Martine Syms’s whip-smart satire brings the invisible, everyday negotiations of a Black artist to startlingly visual life... There’s an echo of Luis Buñuel’s THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL in THE AFRICAN DESPERATE, though Palace’s stuckness in her off-putting milieu is less surreal than tragically banal. As alienating as art school might be, it’s also a refuge for our eccentric, orange-haired heroine.” Devika Girish. A New York Times Critic's Pick!