Lise’s review published on Letterboxd:
you're free, but you must learn to choose
Guido Anselmi To Direct New Film
Jan 5 1962
Producer Pace has announced that world renowned Italian director Guido Anselmi will direct a new film this year. There is little information about the project, but we know it will be science fiction. One associate who wanted to remain anonymous said that Madeleine, the famous French actress, has expressed interest in the project. Shooting is set to begin in April.
Casting for Anselmi's New Film
March 10 1962
Sources close to the director say that sex-symbol Claudia has been approached to star in Anselmi's new science-fiction film. There is no official word yet about casting other than famous film star Madeleine. An associate in the casting department has said that it impossible to cast any major roles because as of yet there is no script. "How can you get big stars on board when they don't know the part they will play?" Rumours have been circulating that Anselmi is having problems completing his script and is actively seeking collaborators.
Is it a Space Ship?
March 26 1962
The construction of a mysterious structure is ongoing just outside of Rome for Guido Anselmi's science fiction film. The multi-million dollar project attracts visitors from the nearby neighbourhood who wonder what it is. Anita Mastroni, a local resident says she drives by it every day on her way to work. "I know it is for Anselmi's film, I read about it. But I don't know what it is" says Mastroni. "I wish they would cover it up. It is frightening to see it every day, not knowing what it is, what it will be used for. The older kids go hang out there. It is very dangerous".
Anselmi's sister-in-law called it an 80 million lira "pompous shack". It is a well known fact that Anselmi and his sister in law Matilde do not get along. She is known to make public statements about Anselmi and his work. Last week she told Cinema Italia that Anselmi was a fraud. "He sure has found his calling though, making movies. They are just another invention, another lie. Everyone in them is just the way he wants them, the way he likes to see them. They [his movies] are self-indulgent. He makes them just to stroke his ego, to make everyone think he's so wonderful." Anselmi has made no comment.
Anselmi's 2 week hiatus
April 10 1962
Shooting of Anselmi's film has been postponed for 2 weeks. The official reason given is a delay in casting, but sources close to the director say that he is undergoing medical treatment for liver issues. Another source says that it has nothing to do with his liver and everything to do with a lack of script. Anselmi has apparently consulted with a famous novelist and film critic to provide notes on this script. According to an agent for one of the actresses, there still isn't a shooting schedule.
Sources close to the production claim that Anselmi might be having a nervous breakdown. "He doesn't seem to know what he wants" says an unnamed source in the casting department. "He isn't happy with any of the auditions and we are running out of ideas". Some say the problem is with the script. There are apparently conflicts between Anselmi and the famous author/film critic Carini Daumier, whom Anselmi hired as a consultant. An unnamed source claims that Daumier is not at all happy with the script. "He says it lacks conflict" and "philosophical problems" says our source. The script, constructed of episodes rather than a typical narrative structure, is the problem. "They are just gratuitous episodes" says Daumier. "The action reveals a poverty of poetic inspiration". "It is full of overabundant symbolism" but makes no statement.
More defections on Anselmi's film
April 24 1962
Mario Conocchia, Anselmi's production assistant has had enough and has threatened to leave the production. He has worked in film for over 30 years, but he is fed up with Anselmi, says one of his assistants who wanted to remain anonymous. "There is no script, there are no sets other than the spaceship and even that we don't know what it is supposed to look like. Anselmi is keeping everyone in the dark". This confirms rumours about problems with the production. We previously reported that some cast members are threatening to leave because they don't have a script and don't even know what the film is about.
Is Anselmi's film in peril?
May 2 1962
He walked out of the theatre right in the middle of the screen tests says Matilde, Anselmi's sister-in-law. "He took off with Claudia, probably another of his conquests. Thank God Luisa had already left in disgust" continued Matilde. Claudia is of course the famous actress who is rumoured to be cast in Anselmi's film. Luisa Anselmi, Anselmi's wife and sister to Matilde arrived in Rome a few days earlier to spend some time with her husband. She was reportedly viewing the screen tests with him. When asked what the screen tests reveal about the film, Matilde was more than eager to give her opinion. "It is all lies. Guido is such a good liar that he doesn't even know when he's lying. To think that everyone thinks he is so wonderful".
Claudia reveals content of Anselmi Film
May 24 1962
In a recent interview with Film Italia, French actress Claudia admitted that she had met with Anselmi about a part in his film. She was to play a girl who distributes healing water at the spring. "The girl was going to be his salvation" says Claudia about the film's protagonist. Anselmi told her the film was about "choosing to start over from scratch, holding on to just one thing for the rest of your life" and that her character was going to be that one thing. The man "wants to grab everything, can't give up a single thing. He changes his mind every day, because he's afraid he might miss the right path, and he's slowly bleeding to death." When asked if that is how the film ends, Claudia responded that it was the way the film begins. "This man is dying when he meets the girl of the spring, and he thinks she is his salvation." And is she? "I don't think so. I think he pushes her away too. The problem, I think, is that the man doesn't know how to love. He is surrounded by women but doesn't love any of them because he doesn't know how. It is very sad." When asked about the ending of the film Claudia said she didn't know. She alluded to the fact that she wasn't sure if the film would be made at all. "Anselmi seemed very sad, very, how do you say, undone. He didn't have much enthusiasm for the project". Millions have already been spent on production. When asked about the possibility that the film may not be made, producer Pace was quick to confirm that the film was going to be made. "I assure you my director is in good form". Production costs for the film have already reached beyond 150 million.
Anselmi's film set to start shooting in 2 days
May 25 1962
The producers of Anselmi's latest film, rumoured to be in trouble, have announced a cocktail party tomorrow to launch the film. The science-fiction film will be launched outdoors on the site of the film's rocket-launcher, an unwieldy structure on the outskirts of town. Filming is set to begin 2 days later. This puts to rest recent rumours that the director was unhappy with the direction the film was taking and was considering leaving the project.
Exit Stage Left
May 26 1962
At a press conference today to launch director Guido Anselmi's latest film, the director made a surprise move and to everyone's shock left the stage without answering a single question. The producers of the film had been trying to introduce the director for at least 20 minutes, but could hardly be heard over all of the reporters' questions directed at Anselmi. No one knows where Anselmi went but it was left to Paco, the producer, to answer questions, which shifted from being about the content of the film to whether there was any conflict with the director and questions about rumours of the film being cancelled.