An architect supervising an exhibition starts to have mysterious stomach pains while his life slowly falls apart.


Peter Greenaway


Peter Greenaway
2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Brian Dennehy ... Stourley Kracklite
Chloe Webb ... Louisa Kracklite
Lambert Wilson ... Caspasian Speckler
Sergio Fantoni ... Io Speckler
Stefania Casini ... Flavia Speckler
Vanni Corbellini Vanni Corbellini ... Frederico
Alfredo Varelli Alfredo Varelli ... Julio
Geoffrey Copleston Geoffrey Copleston ... Caspetti
Francesco Carnelutti ... Pastarri
Marino Masé ... Trettorio (as Marino Mase)
Marne Maitland ... Battistino
Claudio Spadaro ... Mori
Rate Furlan Rate Furlan ... Violinist
Julian Jenkins Julian Jenkins ... Old Doctor
Enrica Maria Scrivano Enrica Maria Scrivano ... Mother


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 <>

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R | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Etienne-Louis Boullee (1728-1799) was a real architect. Many of his neoclassical designs that were built still exist, mostly in Paris, France. His project for the Cenotaph for Isaac Newton has been much studied by architects for its viability, not least by Albert Speer who modeled the New Berlin for Hitler. The cake presented to Kracklite at the initial banquet is a perfect replica of Boullee's drawings for the Isaac Newton Cenotaph. See more »


The violinists (c.25 minutes and c. 99 minutes) mime very badly. See more »


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 »

User Reviews

28 October 2006 | by severin72See all my reviews

Greenaway's visuals (which betray his origins as a painter in almost every gorgeously composed shot) are sumptuous. Wim Mertens score is mesmerizing. Add them to Brian Dennehy's towering performance as obsessed, betrayed, and ultimately dying American architect Stourley Kracklite and you have something very special. Kracklite is in Rome battling to put on an exhibition to his idol, 18th century French architect Etienne Louis Boulet. His young wife (Webb) betrays him, the natives scheme to undermine his exhibition and he begins to crumble physically like the ruins of the eternal city around him. The story, largely carried on Dennehy's massive shoulders, is almost incidental to the glorious, poetic footage of Rome. It is so movingly beautiful that, when I finally got around to visiting the city (a trip in no small part inspired by this film) the reality of the place couldn't compete. If you can, watch this on a big screen with the best possible suround-sound. If you can't, watch it anyway.

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UK | Italy


English | Italian

Release Date:

16 October 1987 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Belly of an Architect See more »


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Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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