The Belly Of An Architect

A middle-aged Chicago architect (Brian Dennehy) goes to Rome with his much younger wife (Chloe Webb) to mount an exhibition of the work of 18th-century French architect Etienne-Louis Boullee. He suffers a midlife crisis that includes a psychosomatic intestinal disorder and paranoia about his wife, which pushes her into an affair with a younger architect (Lambert Wilson), even after she discovers she’s pregnant with her husband’s child. All the characters are uniformly obnoxious, and director Peter Greenaway (The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover) lingers over suffering even more than in his other features. There’s less physical mutilation this timeapart from a witty minor subplot about an Italian who removes the noses from statuesbut plenty of Greenaway’s preoccupation with art patronage, as well as his usual symmetrical framing and plotting and lots of educated lecturing on architecture, bellies, and Isaac Newton. Shot by the impeccable Sacha Vierny (1987). R, 118 min. (JR)

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