The Belly of an Architect

Watch The Belly of an Architect

"Art is the food for madness."
  • R
  • 1987
  • 2 hr
  • 6.9  (6,222)

The Belly of an Architect is a visually striking film directed by Peter Greenaway that delves into the world of architecture and human obsession. The protagonist, Stourley Kracklite (played by Brian Dennehy), is an American architect who is commissioned to oversee an exhibition in Rome about the work of the 18th century French architect Etienne-Louis Boullée. Kracklite, who is suffering from stomach pains, arrives in Rome with his much younger and emotionally distant wife, Louisa (Chloe Webb), who is more interested in pursuing her own artistic and sexual pursuits than in supporting her husband.

The film revolves around Kracklite's declining physical and mental health as he obsesses over the details of the exhibition and his own perceived failings as an architect. He becomes increasingly paranoid and delusional, convinced that his Italian colleagues are conspiring against him and that his stomach pains are a sign that he is dying.

Throughout the film, Kracklite's internal struggles are contrasted with the grandeur and beauty of Rome, with Greenaway showcasing the city's architecture and art in stunning detail. The relationship between Kracklite and Louisa is also a central theme, as their marriage is clearly dysfunctional and complicated by the presence of Louisa's former lover, Caspasian Speckler (Lambert Wilson), who also happens to be involved in the exhibition.

As the exhibition approaches its opening, Kracklite's health deteriorates rapidly, and he becomes increasingly detached from reality. The film's final act is a surreal and visually stunning sequence that blurs the lines between Kracklite's hallucinations and reality.

One of the film's strengths is its attention to detail, both in terms of the architecture and artwork on display and in the portrayal of Kracklite's mental and physical deterioration. Dennehy is excellent in the lead role, and Webb's portrayal of Louisa is nuanced and complex.

Overall, The Belly of an Architect is a challenging yet rewarding film that explores themes of obsession, mortality, and the relationship between art and architecture. It is a must-see for fans of Peter Greenaway's work and anyone interested in the intersection of art and design.

The Belly of an Architect is a 1987 drama with a runtime of 2 hours. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9.

The Belly of an Architect
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.9  (6,222)