The Belly of an Architect

Synopsis: 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.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Peter Greenaway
Production: Hemdale
  2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
119 min

What a way to enter Italy.

Absolutely. The ideal way.

Land of fertility, fine women...

inimitable history...

home of the dome and the arch, good food...

and high ideals.

High ideals? My father was ltalian...

and he was very thin.

He was only interested in money.

Yes, and carnivorous enough.

He had no ideals except to leave this place.

Well, he was idealistic enough | to take all that money to Chicago.

City of blood, meat, and money.

Home of some of the best carnivorous | architecture in the Western world.

That is, of course, outside of Rome.

It's really beautiful. This is really good.

Friends, amici, Signor Kracklite.

May I speak formally on behalf of all of us...

to say how pleased we are...

to welcome such a celebrated | American architect to Rome.

And we wish you and your wife...

all the best wishes on your birthday.

We know that the exhibition | of Etienne-Louis Boulle...

you do us the honor | of presenting here in Rome...

will be a resounding success.

Signor Speckler, thank you.

My friends...

we both would like | to thank you very sincerely...

for your very warm welcome.

Boulle's crowning achievement...

inspired, of course, | by the magnificent building...

of the Pantheon, here, behind us...

was a memorial he designed | in honor of Sir lsaac Newton...

for whom Boulle had great reverence.

Now, I doubt whether Sir lsaac Newton | has ever before been celebrated...

with sugar icing.

However, for me...

having waited so many years...

to honor this visionary architect...

whom I have so passionately admired | ever since I was a child....

For me...

this moment is very sweet indeed.

Etienne-Louis Boulle!

Now, with your permission, | I'd like to call upon my wife...

to cut this magnificent cake.

I can assure you that she is | very experienced in opening supermarkets...

kissing babies, christening ships...

and cutting the tape.

Sir lsaac Newton, | the subject of tonight's cake...

appears in every Englishman's wallet.

A man who discovers gravity | must be a very good companion.

In fixing us firmly on the earth...

he enables us with equanimity | to keep our head in the clouds.

If you look carefully, | you can spot a reference to gravity.

See if you can find it.

It's an English note. | So, of course, it's laconic.

It's there, the apple blossom.

I hear, Signor Kracklite...

that your inspiration | for the Chicago-Angelo Building...

came entirely from the profit on sausages.

No. Frankfurters, hot dogs...

hamburgers, salami, baloney.

A monument to carnivores.

In Chicago, they call it the slaughterhouse.

A building suffering | from excess cholesterol...

Iike Stourley.

No. There's no excess fat on it, or me.

The both of us have been built...

with perfect and enviable centers of gravity.

-Standing up? | -No, Signora Speckler, lying down.

How long have you been married to him?

Seven years.

Why? Do you think that's too long?

God! I think I've lost my English 1 note.

Come on, you can easily get another.

No, you can't. | They're dropping out of circulation.

My father's wedding present...

was another commission for Kracklite...

to build us a house.

You should see it.

Two marble cubes | and a brick sphere on stilts.

Boulle would have loved it.

What do you think of our foreign architect?

He's too old for his wife.

I think she's looking | for a romantic experience.

How can you tell?

The way she eats cake.

Just about this time, | if I'm near the Pantheon...

I come and admire | such a great work of architecture.

As solid as it is beautiful.

As romantic as it is awesome.

Built by Hadrian, | the most accomplished of all the Emperors.

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Peter Greenaway

Peter Greenaway, CBE (born 5 April 1942 in Newport, Wales) is a British film director, screenwriter, and artist. His films are noted for the distinct influence of Renaissance and Baroque painting, and Flemish painting in particular. Common traits in his film are the scenic composition and illumination and the contrasts of costume and nudity, nature and architecture, furniture and people, sexual pleasure and painful death. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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