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Belly of the Architect, The

Brzuch Architekta · dir. Peter Greenaway
United Kingdom, Italy 1987, 120’


The American architect Stourley Kracklite has been commissioned to construct an exhibition in Rome dedicated to the architecture of Etienne-Louis Boullée. Doubts arise among his Italian colleagues to the legitimacy of Boullée among the pantheon of famed architects, perhaps because he was an inspiration for Adolf Hitler’s architect Albert Speer. Tirelessly dedicated to the project, Kracklite’s marriage quickly dissolves along with his health. Kracklite becomes obsessed with the historical Caesar Augustus after hearing that Livia, the wife of Augustus, supposedly poisoned him. Kracklite assumes that his own wife Louisa has tried to do the same due to his increasing stomach pains.

Director Greenaway’s visual technique heightens Kracklite’s alienation. There are few close-up shots of the other actors beside Dennehy, who himself is dwarfed by the dominance of the Roman architecture surrounding him.

Director:Peter Greenaway
Screenplay:Peter Greenaway
Music:Wim Mertens
Cinematography:Sacha Vierny
Editing:John Wilson
Cast:Brian Dennehy, Chloe Webb