Madonna on 'own journey' in Berlin


Complete Berlinale coverage
Read our 'Filth and Wisdom' review

BERLIN -- The last time Madonna came to the Berlin International Film Festival she hid under a raincoat -- accompanying Sean Penn -- and nobody knew she was here. Or so the story goes. But this time, she was out in full view for her directorial debut, "Filth and Wisdom," playing in the Panorama section of the festival.

Reporters queued for an hour outside the press room, then waited another hour inside to catch a glimpse of the diminutive director and the documentary's stars, the Gypsy rocker Eugene Hutz and the British actresses Holly Weston and Vicky McClure.

"I stalked him (Eugene) like a strange fan," said Madonna of getting the Ukrainian musician to play the philosophical narrator and one of three main characters in the film.

The Material Girl might have all the success in the world, but she can still feel the struggle of her early years as if it was yesterday or so she said Wednesday adding that she could therefore identify with the struggling characters in her quirky, colorful, sexual underground film.

"I think that in spite of what appears to be my material success, I still feel like the characters in that movie," she said. "Thirty years ago it (happiness) meant that I could feed myself and put a roof over my head, and survive in New York, carve a place for myself and get my voice heard. Now happiness is being grateful that all of those things continue to happen for me."

Asked if she had sought advice in making the film, Madonna garnered one of many laughs in the conference when she quipped: "I did get advice from people I admire, but opinions are like assholes. No, that's my joke. At the end of the day, you have to take all of your advice and throw it out and make it your own journey."

One thing she didn't throw out was some free music. "I got the music from people who I knew would give it to me and not charge me a lot of money," she said about the soundtrack, which included a couple of her own songs. "Britney was very generous, Ludacris, etc. Of course I wasn't going to charge myself money."

"The movie is about two things," she added. "The duality of life and the struggle with that duality. I was trying to say you can find enlightenment in either filth or wisdom."