Filth and Wisdom

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Filth and Wisdom
Filth and Wisdom Poster.jpeg
Directed byMadonna
Produced byNicola Doring
Written byMadonna
Dan Cadan
StarringEugene Hütz
Holly Weston
Vicky McClure
Richard E. Grant
Olegar Fedoro
CinematographyTim Maurice Jones
Edited byRussell Icke
Semtex Films, HSI London
Distributed byIFC Films
Release date
  • 13 February 2008 (2008-02-13) (Berlin International Film Festival)
  • 17 October 2008 (2008-10-17) (limited release)
Running time
81 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office$354,628[1]

Filth and Wisdom is a 2008 British comedy-drama film directed by Madonna, starring Eugene Hütz, Holly Weston, Vicky McClure and Richard E. Grant. It was filmed on location in London, England, from 14 to 29 May 2007. Locations included two actual strip clubs in Hammersmith and Swiss Cottage; both owned by the Secrets Clubs chain. Additional scenes were shot in July 2007.

The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival on 13 February 2008 which was attended by Madonna and cast members Hütz, Weston and McClure. It did not receive many positive reviews. On 17 October 2008 the film went into limited release, as well as being simultaneously released "On Demand" on most cable providers.[citation needed] It is the first motion picture production for Madonna's company, Semtex Films.


Described as a comedy/drama/musical/romance, the story revolves around a Ukrainian immigrant named A.K. (Eugene Hütz) who finances his dreams of rock glory by moonlighting as a cross-dressing dominatrix and his two female flatmates: Holly (Holly Weston), a ballet dancer who works as a stripper and pole-dancer at a local club and Juliette (Vicky McClure), a pharmacy assistant who dreams of going to Africa to help starving children.

The Gypsy punk band that appears in the film is portrayed by real-life Gypsy punk band, Gogol Bordello, who also contributed three songs to the film's soundtrack. The band's lead singer, Hütz, portrays the main character – a character with a philosophical attitude towards life. Madonna allowed additional dialogue written by Hütz himself to be included in the film.


The film met with generally negative reviews: the movie website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 28% of critics gave the film positive write-ups based on 53 reviews.[2] The Times Online claimed, "Madonna has done herself proud"[3] and The Telegraph described the film as "not an entirely unpromising first effort" but went on to say "Madonna would do well to hang on to her day job."[4] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian wrote, "Well, it had to happen. Madonna has been a terrible actor in many, many films and now – fiercely aspirational as ever – she has graduated to being a terrible director."[5] Jonathan Romney of Screen International called the film "a good-humoured, averagely average vanity project" and "a cheap and cheerful comedy," adding that "Madonna simply cannot direct actors."[6] The New Yorker's Anthony Lane panned the film, saying that "in technical terms, more professional productions than this are filmed and cut on iMovie, by ten-year-olds, a thousand times a day" and that "if the actors were paid according to their talents, they cannot have cost more than forty bucks."[7]


Production credits[edit]

  • Directed by: Madonna
  • Produced by: Nicola Doring
  • Executive Producer: Madonna
  • Screenplay: Madonna & Dan Cadan
  • Director of Photography: Tim Maurice Jones
  • Editor: Russell Icke
  • Production Designer: Gideon Ponte
  • Costume Designer: B
  • Running Time: 81 minutes
  • Format: 35 mm, 1:1.85 aspect ratio
  • Production Company: Semtex Films (in association with HSI London)


  1. ^ "Filth and Wisdom (2008)". Box Office Mojo. 23 November 2008. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  2. ^ "Filth and Wisdom Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 30 December 2008.
  3. ^ Christopher, James (14 February 2008). "'Review: Madonna's Filth and Wisdom'". The Times. London. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  4. ^ Johnston, Sheila (14 February 2008). "'Filth and Wisdom: Don't give up the day job, Madonna'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  5. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (14 February 2008). "'Review: Madonna's Filth and Wisdom'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  6. ^ Romney, Jonathan (29 February 2008). "Filth And Wisdom". Screen International (1634). p. 20.
  7. ^ Lane, Anthony (20 October 2008). "Inside Jobs". The New Yorker. Retrieved 19 October 2008.

External links[edit]