Critics have already begun sharpening their pencils at the prospect of "Filth and Wisdom" which revolves around a Ukrainian immigrant who finances his dreams of rock stardom by moonlighting as a cross-dressing dominatrix, and his two female flatmates.
Madonna, who will add some welcome star power to what has been a rather lackluster Berlinale, has been less than timid about her ambitions as a filmmaker.
"I have always been inspired by the films of Godard, Visconti, Pasolini and Fellini and hope that I may one day make something that comes close to their genius," she said in a her director's statement for Wednesday's premiere.
Billed as a London-based comedy, "Filth and Wisdom" stars Eugene Hutz, the Ukrainian frontman for Gypsy punk rock band Gogol Bordello, as well as British cult star Richard E. Grant.
Madonna's own acting career got off to a promising start with a starring role in 1985's "Desperately Seeking Susan," but then went into terminal decline with her appearances in major flops like 1986's "Shanghai Surprise" alongside first husband Sean Penn.
Her last celluloid outing was in the widely derided "Swept Away" in 2002, which was directed by her current husband Guy Ritchie and involved, according to the New York Times, "a lot of swearing, a little nudity, a modicum of sex and an eternity of staring at your watch".
In "Filth and Wisdom," Hutz plays "AK" a self-proclaimed philosopher and poet, whose sideline career sees him assume characters ranging from a Marine drill instructor to former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher -- depending on the tastes of his clients.
Grant plays a blind professor and frustrated writer who lives in the same building.
"I have always admired the art of filmmaking and the ability to tell a good story," Madonna said in her program notes. "After almost three decades of being in front of a camera, I decided to put my money where my mouth is."
The Material Girl not only directs, but also co-wrote the screenplay and acted as executive producer.
"'Filth and Wisdom was essentially my way of putting myself through film school," she said.
The project began life as a short, but Madonna said it grew into a feature as she became more involved in the lives of the three main characters.
"When the film was finished, I realized that they were all aspects of me, so the whole experience was both artistic and therapeutic," she said.
Madonna's participation in the Berlinale is in keeping with the distinctly musical flavor of this year's festival, which opened last Thursday with the world premiere of Martin Scorsese's concert movie with The Rolling Stones, "Shine a Light".
The godmother of punk, Patti Smith, attended the screening of a documentary on her career, while rock veteran Neil Young presented a film about Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's 2006 Freedom of Speech Tour.
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