The Belly of an Architect

Last year’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover may have made director Peter Greenaway into cinema’s reigning bad-boy artiste, but 1987’s The Belly of an Architect proves he’d been at it for a while. An American architect (Brian Dennehy) arrives in Rome to launch an exhibition of the designs of 18th-century eccentric Etienne-Louis Boullee and discovers the destruction creative passion can yield. The movie’s luxuriously shot hash of art references, sex, and stomach disorders is unintelligible on the surface, but if you’ve done your homework (as Greenaway means you to), you’ll find that Boullee’s plans grew so mythically proportioned they couldn’t be built. It’s a tribute to the director’s huge self-regard that, after drawing this parallel, he went ahead and made this film anyway. C

The Belly of an Architect
  • Movie