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The Belly of an Architect (1987)

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An American architect arrives in Italy, supervising an exhibition for a French architect, Boullée, who is famous for his oval structures. Through the course of 9 months he becomes obsessed ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Louisa Kracklite
...
Caspasian Speckler
...
Io Speckler
Stefania Casini ...
Flavia Speckler
Vanni Corbellini ...
Frederico
Alfredo Varelli ...
Julio
Geoffrey Copleston ...
Caspetti
Francesco Carnelutti ...
Pastarri
Marino Masé ...
Trettorio
Marne Maitland ...
Battistino
Claudio Spadaro ...
Mori
Rate Furlan ...
Violinist
Julian Jenkins ...
Old Doctor
Enrica Maria Scrivano ...
Mother
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Storyline

An American architect arrives in Italy, supervising an exhibition for a French architect, Boullée, who is famous for his oval structures. Through the course of 9 months he becomes obsessed with his belly, suffers severe stomach pains, loses his wife, exhibition, his unborn child and finally his own life. Written by Ofir Zwebner <ofirz@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

23 September 1987 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Der Bauch des Architekten  »

Box Office

Gross:

$287,725 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When photocopying the picture of Augustus, Kracklite puts the picture in upside down which would have given a blank copy (unless the same picture was on both sides). Additionally, it would not be possible to achieve the level of resolution of Augustus' abdomen from such a small picture. See more »

Quotes

Caspasian Speckler: Your wife is very beautiful, Signor Kracklite, especially when she is pregnant.
Stourley Kracklite: Yes, that's right. She is pregnant. But not with your child, Speckler.
Caspasian Speckler: True. I'm very grateful to you for that. Your child, shall we say, is the most perfect contraceptive.
[Kracklite turns and punches Speckler in the nose]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Tulse Luper Suitcases, Part 1: The Moab Story (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Two elements at war
16 November 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Starring Brian Dennehy, an unusual actor for a Peter Greenaway film, as Kracklite, an architect, a career we don't often see explored in cinema, Greenaway's 'Belly of an Architect' is somehow bigger and more emotionally ambitious than most of his other works, which lack human resonance. In his other films, the characters are uniformly British and so Greenaway's coldness and archness toward them is indicative of a general misanthropy. Here, it's aimed squarely at Romans, whose loose morals and carnivorous practices contrast with the enormity of Kracklite's ego and generosity of spirit. His stomach is being eaten away by some unknown illness or cancer, and this serves as a metaphor for his ego being eaten away by the carnivorousness of Roman culture. His wife, his identity (which is a vicarious one, given his devotion/debt to his idol, Bouleé) and his work are being repossessed by the conquestful Roman carnivores who aim to destroy him simply for the material gain of taking what is so ostentatiously his. But his devotion to Bouleé, his need to make Bouleé's work more widely known, is not a singular or altruistic act; the exhibition he is organizing will make Bouleé more commercial and accessible, but it will also be an addendum to his own career, a manifestation of his ego. His diary is written in the form of letters to Bouleé, to whom he is almost praying as his own personal God. And his devotion to this God is not a selfless one, since Bouleé is so inexorably an element of his own identity.

Rome and its buildings are given a golden, postmodern glow, their clarity enhanced by Wim Mertens' musical score, which adds its own sunlight to the proceedings. But the sunlight that glows throughout Rome and permeates the aura of the film is an impersonal one, an indifferent one, as ancient as the ruins of Rome, which our Roman characters observe have been more useful and influential as ruins than they were prior. "They're better as ruines," a character observes. "Your imagination compensates for what you don't see, like a woman with clothes on." The Romans are depicted here as carnivores (and the word "carnivore" is used multiple times) who not only want to devour and repossess, but want to strip. Brian Dennehy's performance here is indeed stripped, larger than life, fiery. He explodes on screen, bringing the film into another realm, introducing emotional dimensions not often seen in the films of Greenaway; and in this, the film has a power that inhabits the movie's symmetrical form (mostly every shot is symmetrical), its architecture, and threatens to destroy it. The coldness that is typical of Greenaway, that architecturized godlessness, is at war with fiery human passion in all its flawed nakedness.

Greenaway's movies, in their arctic wit and obsession with symmetry, are cinema as architecture more so than storytelling, so 'The Belly of an Architect,' contrary to the claim by many that it's his most mainstream and therefore weakest work, is perhaps his most appropriate film, and maybe his best


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