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Belly of an Architect [Import]

3.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Brian Dennehy, Chloe Webb, Lambert Wilson, Sergio Fantoni, Stefania Casini
  • Directors: Peter Greenaway
  • Writers: Peter Greenaway
  • Producers: Colin Callender, Conchita Airoldi, Dino Di Dionisio, Walter Donohue
  • Format: NTSC, Import
  • Language: English, Italian
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • VHS Release Date: March 7 2000
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • ASIN: 0792843843
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
The ebullient Brian Dennehy gives a fine performance as Stourley Kracklite, an American architect who is in Rome with his younger wife Louisa (Chloe Webb) to arrange an exhibition on the French architect Etienne-Louis Boullée. Kracklite is obsessed with Boullée and even writes letters to him. Kracklite's life soon begins to deteriorate. He starts to suffer excruciating stomach pains and vomits each time he eats. He even thinks that his wife is poisoning him. His wife then falls pregnant and has an affair with Kracklite's rival architect, Caspasian Speckler (Lambert Wilson). Kracklite then sleeps with Speckler's sister, to get some sort of satisfaction. Speckler intrudes while they are having sex, and announces, "having sex with your pregnant wife is perfect, because I don't need to use contraception". Kracklite then punches him on the nose. Speckler's sister then says, "Don't put your blood on my white towel."
The film follows the parallels of these two unappreciated architects from different eras. The film is memorable for Dennehy's (an actor who is also unappreciated) remarkable performance. Also, the beautiful cinematography by Greenaway's trusty DOP Sacha Vierny makes the film very easy to look at. From the ancient architecture of Rome, to a painting-like bowl of figs, it is pristine-looking. Michael Nyman is absent, but the music by Wim Mertens is splendid. This film was made in between A Zed & Two Noughts and Drowning by Numbers, and it is quite unlike those two films, which, I think, are superior to this in the way they offer us a much more enigmatic, abstract concept. But even a ever so slightly lesser Greenaway film is a thing to behold.
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Format: VHS Tape
This was made a few years before "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover," which remains Peter Greenaway's best-known film. Not as many people know about this one. Brian Dennehy, that hardworking character actor and veteran of many thrillers, finally got a shot at art-house cred in this stubbornly interiorized drama. Dennehy is Stourley Kracklite, an American architect in Rome supervising the exhibition of the classical architect he idolizes. When he learns that his idol had stomach ailments much like his own, he becomes convinced that his straying, younger wife (Chloe Webb) is poisoning him. Stomachs become a fixation for him (and for us; after a while, our eyes automatically travel to characters' tummies), and he gets sicker and more paranoid as his wife, unborn child and career slip away from him. Even in the shallowest roles, Dennehy has been a burly force of nature; here, in a showboat artist role Hemingway could've written, Dennehy, with his white beard and Homeric shoulders, is about the only actor who could be posed between classical Roman statues (as cinematographer Sacha Vierny often frames him) without looking like a nerd. You knew he was physically powerful, but in this movie Dennehy achieves Brando-esque emotional power. The film itself is another Peter Greenaway number, full of art-major allusions, but that great bull Dennehy takes the snob curse off it. Greenaway wisely puts him in almost every frame - the better, perhaps, to appreciate him as art.
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Format: VHS Tape
In his most accessible and mainstream film, Peter Greenaway looks at an architect in the days leading up to the grand opening of an elaborate building he has designed. The film looks at all of the nagging doubts that an artist has about life, a legacy, and death. Not for all tastes, but well worth your time. Fans of Greenaway will notice all the usual touches (working art history into the story, for example). One viewer here noted they couldn't get past the first 15 minutes and couldn't understand why the main character was behaving in such a way to his wife -- as in many European films, the characters are a bit more complex and Greenaway takes his time unfolding the character sketches, so the reasons for Denehey's behavior is explained. In all, a very rewarding film for those inclined towards this type of thing.
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