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Berlin


The 70th Berlinale International Film Festival will be held from February 20 to March 1, 2020.
Our team of festival ambassadors and reporters bring you the dailies from the Berlin Film Festival and European Film Market and keep an eye on past editions archives. WATCH OUR VIDEO COVERAGE TRAILERS INTERVIEWS AND AMBIANCE   PHOTOS

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Madonna Makes Her Feature Directing Debut In Berlin

Thursday, February 14---------When you are one of the most famous people on the planet, it is hard to go anywhere without noisy crowds assembling. And when you are premiering your film directorial debut......it is a papparazzi dream on steroids. This is the tame description of what happened last evening, when Madonna, the Material Girl herself, was in Berlin to premiere her new film FILTH AND WISDOM.

As one can only imagine,  Madonna made quite a media splash. She was prominently featured on the cover of several local tabloids and attracted huge crowds wherever she appeared, includiing a packed press conference which was also broadcast on a giant screen outside the Berlinale Palast. Police security, almost unheard of at the Festival, were called in to handle the masses that blocked traffic outside the Zoopalast Theater, where the film had its world premiere screening last night.

The film, produced by Exposure Films in the UK, screened as part of the Panorama program. The film, shot completely in her now native town of London, was shot last summer with a limited budget and rather  "under the radar". Using a largely unknown cast, FILTH AND WISDOM tells the story of Andriy Krystiyan, or A. K. for short, who has come to England from the Ukraine. A. K. is a philosopher, a poet, and an authority on all aspects of life. At the same time, he is following his grand plan to become an international star. Global stardom is how A. K. describes the goal that he and his band Gogol Bordello are pursuing with their particular brand of boisterous gypsy punk. A. K. shares a flat with two young women named Juliette and Holly. Juliette dreams of being a kind of Florence Nightingale of the developing world. Holly is a trained ballerina. Her big dream is to dance with the Royal Ballet. These three distinctive personalities are at the centre of a cinematic tale of everyday life about people who are obliged to take on jobs just to earn a living, but who live in hope of one day fulfilling their dreams.

So far, the buzz from film professionals is respectful, if not enthusiastic. Several critics have indicated that the film represents a substantial improvement over her recent work as an actress. Nevertheless, some reviews took her to task for what was described as the movie's fortune-cookie philosophy. At a news conference, Madonna appeared to ignore the criticism, reflecting that her goal was to reflect life's "ultimate duality" -- as expressed in the title. She also commented on the challenges of directing her first film project. "In film directing, you live more in your head -- there's no visceral release. It was an adjustment for me to work from my neck up."

So far, the film does not have any distributor attached, although curiosity is certainly high. At the press conference, Madonna confirmed reports that she is exploring the possibility of releasing FILTH AND WISDOM on the internet, avoiding a traditional theatrical release. "That would be an unconventional way for it to be seen," she said, "and I like doing unconventional things."

Sandy Mandelberger, Berlin FF Dailies Editor

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Berlin 2019: The dailies from the Berlin Film Festival brought to you by our team of festival ambassadors. Vanessa McMahon, Alex Deleon, Laurie Gordon, Lindsay Bellinger and Bruno Chatelin...
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