The filmmaker of Filth and Wisdom has a lot to say. She’s got big ideas and some clever ones too, and she’s letting it fly. She’s repulsed and fascinated by hypocrisy in the world, and wants people to just get over themselves, to abandon fear, pride, and learn to fly their freak flag high. She found this cool new band and its awesome-looking Ukrainian lead singer, and made a film all about him and his friends making it in the big city.
As it happens, this first-time filmmaker is no precocious teen. She is 50 years old, her name is Madonna, and she is the most famous woman on the planet.
Considering that everything she does is subject to tabloid scrutiny, I can’t help but respect the courage it took for Madonna to make, and then show to the public, a film as honest, unpolished, and staggeringly naive as Filth and Wisdom. In every respect the work of an amateur, this is I’ll figure-it-out-as-I-go filmmaking, by turns exciting, tedious, disarming, and god-awful. By all accounts, Madonna approached Filth and Wisdom with appropriate degrees of humility, wonder, and experimentation — albeit with an actual budget and accomplished associates — and for all I know she’s now set to make a mature film. But unlike the school kid or backyard Spielberg, her flawed first try is coming to a theater or VOD box near you. Somehow I think she’ll persevere. And, unlike the vulnerable greenhorn she resembles here, she’ll remain unscathed by reviews such as this one. Click here to read the rest of Eric Hynes’s review of Filth and Wisdom.