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Thursday July 18th 2024

The Belly Of An Architect | 1987

The Belly Of An Architect filming location: Vittorio Emanuele Monument, Rome, Italy
The Belly Of An Architect location: the grand edifice in which architect Stourley Kracklite works: Vittorio Emanuele Monument, Rome, Italy | Photograph: Icewedge

Peter Greenaway’s beautifully filmed puzzle links architecture, pregnancy and stomach ailments, as architect Stourley Kracklite (Brian Dennehy) arrives in Rome to organise an exhibition.

He arrives in Italy at Ventimiglia railway station, the crossing point from France on the south coast, ten miles east of Monte Carlo, but from here on, Greenaway sets the action against the classical buildings of Rome.

Kracklite’s apartment overlooks the Tomb of Augustus, in the Piazza Augusto, east of the via del Corso. He works in the enormous, white marble Victor Emanuel II Monument on the Piazza Venezia. You might be surprised to find that two years later, the monument appeared in Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure (standing in for Ancient Greece).

The Belly Of An Architect location: Piazza del Popolo, Rome
The Belly Of An Architect location: Kracklite writes another postcard: Piazza del Popolo, Rome

Kracklite stops to write a postcard to deceased architect Boulée on the Foro Italico, Piazza Lauro De Bosis, the vast sports complex northwest of the city, built in the 1930s as the Foro Mussolini. He goes on to write another in the Piazza del Popolo at the north end of via del Corso, the location of one of the clues followed up by Robert Langdon in Angels And Demons.

The picnic, with the vomit-eating doggie, is at the baths of the Villa Adriana, Emperor Hadrian’s villa in Tivoli, 15 miles east of Rome. He writes yet another postcard in St Peter’s Square, Vatican City.

The weirdo collecting the noses from statues is in the Forum, overlooking the Foro Traiano on the eastern side of the Piazza Venezia.

Kracklite photographs the belly of a Bernini nude in the Piazza Navona – site of Emperor Domitian’s racecourse, and sees statues being restored in Mussolini’s Foro Italico Stadium.

The Belly Of An Architect location: the Pantheon, Rome
The Belly Of An Architect location: Kracklite gets roaring drunk: the Pantheon, Rome

Dying, Kracklite gets roaring drunk before the floodlit Pantheon in the Piazza della Rotonda. Built around 125AD as a temple to the Roman gods, since the 7th century it’s been a Roman Catholic church. It’s topped by the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world and houses the tomb of Raphael – and, yes, it’s another location used in Angels And Demons.