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MOVIES (LFF 2022): The African Desperate - Review



Taking its cue from films like After Hours only instead using it as a backdrop to openly poke fun at the elite trappings of the art school world, The African Desperate finds its home in the counterculture of those about to finish their last year at school before going back to their regular homes likely never to meet again. It's an emotional moment that anyone who's experienced that feeling will relate to; and if you're Diamond Stingily's Palace - you lead the charge by embracing an all-night party that turns into a "psychedelic odyssey" - all brought to life by the wonderful Martine Syms.

The perfect hangout movie designed to be watched at 3am in the morning this film feels like it embraces the artsy, stylistic vibes that it would suggest. The stakes are lowkey - the final years presentation happens in the first half of the film and the biggest stake that the film has is wondering whether Palace will make her train home on time. It's refreshingly lowkey in that sense - I did have a problem with the sound system in the way that character's names were constantly bleeped out as though they were swear words on a TV show before the watershed, funny, but got deafening real fast - however there were plenty of moments that landed much better for me - millennial representation is at its near-strongest and you can't help but embrace the cringe humour that the film goes for, awkward and clumsy but works as a piece so much better than Climax which I didn't completely vibe with.

Amazing to learn that the car scene was improvised - every beat lands perfectly. The African Desperate may not do anything different from a coming of age movie that you've seen before but really gets its subculture and target demographics as much as it delights in poking fun at them - anchored together by an utterly compelling performance by Diamond Stingily. Superb.

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