PETER GREENAWAY: THE FILM ARCHITECT – Beyond The Belly of an Architect

Gideon Bachmann


T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

In this previously unseen backstage documentary, Peter Greenaway responds with great generosity to the  open-ended questions posed by an off-camera Gideon Bachmann about the process which led to the creation of one his most important films, The Belly of an Architect, giving contemporary audiences an insight into his ideas, the rigour of his reflections (thanks also to the rigorous research he conducted into Étienne-Louis Boullée’s work) and the development of the project. His account reveals details about this artistic enterprise (including auto-biographical ones), as well as about the film’s dramatic construction and social critique. Time is also devoted to exploring the director’s complex ideas on the cinema, how they relate to his formation as a painter, and his particular interest in aesthetics.
Together with scenes from the set itself, this interview is invaluable for the portrait it paints of the English director’s world. We are able to appreciate on the one hand his patient, careful and collaborative approach to actors, crew and the set, and on the other his passionate and rigorous working method, whose key traits are the construction of multiple layers of meaning, a wealth of references, dense content and hybridity between different media and cultural forms.
In this glimpse behind the scenes, Greenaway reaffirms his passion for literature and music (he recalls his dream of becoming a composer), but also pieces together his visual formation, his relationship to the “politically engaged” cinema of the Sixties, and his fascination with Italian filmmakers Pasolini and Antonioni… He also reflects on the modernity and future of the cinematic medium, exploring in depth its relationship to the evolution of television and technology while simultaneously reaffirming the intrinsic power of audio-visual media in relation to the history of the visual arts and exploring possible future developments in his oeuvre.

Riccardo Costantini


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