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. With movie stars stars Brian Dennehy and Chloe Webb in the lead roles, it was nominated for the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) award at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival. The movie contains numerous references to the work of the 18th century French architect Étienne-Louis Boullée.
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 expresses doubts about whether Boullée belongs to te pantheon of famous 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.
Boullée designed marvellous buildings and tombs, usually never built, for a city he never saw: Rome. With its beautiful architecture, both ancient and modern, so penetrated by the history of man and the world itself, Rome is an incredible background. For Peter Greenaway, a director who uses colour, composition and the language of the film to make extraordinary movies that resemble at baroque or renaissance paintings that come to life, Rome was the perfect match for this movie.
Fr 13 December 2019 — 20:00