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The Belly of an Architect Movie Review

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Many of the press corps laughed hysterically at Peter Greenaway's The Belly of an Architect, starring Brian Dennehy and Chloe Webb. They laughed at things like Dennehy plunging headfirst onto the roof of a car at the same time as wife Webb's baby was being born. Obviously, Greenaway's work is fraught with humor that you have to be on the same wave length to appreciate. The title, by the way, is literal. You will see more extreme close-ups of Dennehy's bulging stomach than you can possibly imagine. As counterpoint, much of the two-hour film was shot with the principal action in extreme long shots, which makes this film a nightmare to watch on television or video. When Dennehy goes berserk at an outdoor restaurant, for example, Greenaway focuses on two female extras. When Dennehy is spying on Webb's fling with a rotter named Caspasian Speckler, we can barely see either one of them. The plot is your standard older-man-is-dying-while-his-pretty-young-wife-has-an-affair-with-an-Ita lian, but it kept several film critics in stitches, anyway. Confession 1: I missed every single in-joke. Question 1: Why are figs funny? Confession 2: I do not know who Etienne-Louis Boullee is. Question 2: What is so side-splitting about the name Stourley Kracklite? This movie and Fred Zinneman's similarly themed Five Days One Summer, plus Mary Lambert's one-of-a-kind Siesta, is yet another addition to my growing list of triple bills from hell. Trivia Note: France's Lambert Wilson plays just about the same part in both the Zinneman film and in The Belly of an Architect. woof!

1991 (R) 119m/C GB IT Brian Dennehy, Chloe Webb, Lambert Wilson, Sergio Fantoni, Geoffrey Copleston, Marino Mase; D: Peter Greenaway; W: Peter Greenaway; C: Sacha Vierny; M: Glenn Branca, Wim Mertens. VHS, LV

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