The Belly of an Architect
|The Belly of an Architect|
|Directed by||Peter Greenaway|
|Produced by||Colin Callender|
|Written by||Peter Greenaway|
|Music by||Wim Mertens|
|Edited by||John Wilson|
|Distributed by||Hemdale Film Corporation|
|Country||United Kingdom / Italy|
The Belly of an Architect is a 1987 film drama written and directed by Peter Greenaway, featuring original music by Glenn Branca and Wim Mertens. Starring Brian Dennehy and Chloe Webb, it was nominated for the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) award at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival.
The American architect Stourley Kracklite has been commissioned to construct an exhibition in Rome dedicated to the architecture of the 18th century French architect, Étienne-Louis Boullée. His Italian colleagues express doubts about whether Boullée is one of the pantheon of famed architects, perhaps because Boullée was an inspiration for Adolf Hitler's architect Albert Speer.
Tirelessly dedicated, Kracklite's marriage and health deteriorates, corresponding to the decline of Boullée, who until the 20th century was little known.
He becomes obsessed with Caesar Augustus, the first emperor of the Roman Empire, after hearing that Augusta's wife, Livia, supposedly poisoned him as, suffering from stomach pains, he assumes that his own wife, Louisa, is trying to do the same. She informs him that she is pregnant, and is sexually involved with the younger co-organiser of the exhibition.
He discovers that he has terminal stomach cancer. The film ends at the exhibition's opening ceremony, which Kracklite watches from a high vantage point. As Louisa gives birth to their child, Kracklite jumps to his death.
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.
Greenaway's trademark historical reenactments also compose a major theme: many visual images of the film appear to replicate major 18th-century works of art and architecture. In addition there are subtle references to Isaac Newton and the law of gravity, perhaps alluding to Kracklite's own inability to escape the physical laws of mortality.
- Brian Dennehy - Stourley Kracklite
- Chloe Webb - Louisa Kracklite
- Lambert Wilson - Caspasian Speckler
- Sergio Fantoni - 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