The Belly of an Architect (1987) Script

What a way to enter Italy.

Absolutely. The ideal way.

Land of fertility, fine women... inimitable history... home of the dome and the arch, good food... and high ideals.

High ideals? My father was Italian... and he was very thin.

He was only interested in money.

Yes, and carnivorous enough.

He had no ideals except to leave this place.

Well, he was idealistic enough to take all that money to Chicago.

City of blood, meat, and money.

Home of some of the best carnivorous architecture in the Western world.

That is, of course, outside of Rome.

It's really beautiful. This is really good.

Friends, "amici, Signor" Kracklite.

May I speak formally on behalf of all of us... to say how pleased we are... to welcome such a celebrated American architect to Rome.

And we wish you and your wife... all the best wishes on your birthday.

We know that the exhibition of Étienne-Louis Boullée... you do us the honor of presenting here in Rome... will be a resounding success.

"Signor" Speckler, thank you.

My friends... we both would like to thank you very sincerely... for your very warm welcome.

Boullée's crowning achievement... inspired, of course, by the magnificent building... of the Pantheon, here, behind us...

was a memorial he designed in honor of Sir Isaac Newton... for whom Boullée had great reverence.

Now, I doubt whether Sir Isaac Newton has ever before been celebrated... with sugar icing.

However, for me... having waited so many years... to honor this visionary architect... whom I have so passionately admired ever since I was a child...

For me... this moment is very sweet indeed.

Étienne-Louis Boullée!

Now, with your permission, I'd like to call upon my wife... to cut this magnificent cake.

I can assure you that she is very experienced in opening supermarkets... kissing babies, christening ships... and cutting the tape.

Sir Isaac Newton, the subject of tonight's cake... appears in every Englishman's wallet.

A man who discovers gravity must be a very good companion.

In fixing us firmly on the earth... he enables us with equanimity to keep our head in the clouds.

If you look carefully, you can spot a reference to gravity.

See if you can find it.

It's an English note. So, of course, it's laconic.

It's there, the apple blossom.

I hear, "Signor" Kracklite... that your inspiration for the Chicago-Angelo Building... came entirely from the profit on sausages.

No. Frankfurters, hot dogs... hamburgers, salami, baloney.

A monument to carnivores.

In Chicago, they call it the slaughterhouse.

A building suffering from excess cholesterol... like Stourley.

No. There's no excess fat on it, or me.

The both of us have been built... with perfect and enviable centers of gravity.

Standing up? No, "Signora" Speckler, lying down.

How long have you been married to him?

Seven years.

Why? Do you think that's too long?

God! I think I've lost my English £1 note.

Come on, you can easily get another.

No, you can't. They're dropping out of circulation.

My father's wedding present... was another commission for Kracklite... to build us a house.

You should see it.

Two marble cubes and a brick sphere on stilts.

Boullée would have loved it.

What do you think of our foreign architect?

He's too old for his wife.

I think she's looking for a romantic experience.

How can you tell?

The way she eats cake.

Just about this time, if I'm near the Pantheon...

I come and admire such a great work of architecture.

As solid as it is beautiful.

As romantic as it is awesome.

Built by Hadrian, the most accomplished of all the Emperors.

Good architecture should always be applauded.

I notice Caspasian wears a double-breasted suit.


He wears a matching tie bar and cuff links.

I wouldn't be surprised if he wore a gold chain around his neck.

Do you want me to find out?

Would you want to find out?

It's not important.

What is important?

To be gracious to the Specklers.

They have a lot of influence.

They have a lot of charm. Don't they?

Especially Caspasian.

Especially? Are you jealous?

Of his charm? No.

His gold chain? Absolutely not.

Of his youth...

Of his youth and his waistline, maybe.

Of his ability as an architect?

No, that least of all.

I'm sure Mr. Caspasian is devoid of talent.

Tell me, please, what does "oh-ah" mean?

Stourley, you've built six-and-a-half buildings.

And now you're spending nine months... putting on an exhibition in memory of another architect... who also built practically nothing.

And I don't...

What? What's the matter?

I don't know. What?


You eat too much.

Nothing a little sympathy wouldn't cure.

What's this? Twice in one day?

What about Boullée?

Now, he built virtually nothing... and look at his reputation.

Yeah. Look at it.

Nobody knows about him but you.

You think that they'll give you an exhibition 180 years after your death?

Death? Who's talking about death?

Doesn't everyone in Rome talk about death?

What's the matter? Wait.

What? No!

No, it's all right.

My stomach.

It serves you right. You're always stuffing yourself.

Don't start what you can't finish.

Romans are very equivocal about this building.

They call it the Typewriter or the Wedding Cake.

It's like a box at the theater at which Rome is the play.

Over there, you can see the Colosseum.

There, Michelangelo's dome of San Pietro.

And over there, you can just see...

Borromini's Church of Sant'Agnese in Piazza Navona.

Where is the Tomb of Augustus from here?

Difficult to see from here, "Signor" Kracklite.

But undoubtedly there.

"Signor" Kracklite, let me introduce to you...

"Signor" Antonio Caspetti, banker with the Scuta d'Oro.

"Signor" Caspetti is our most important benefactor.

We couldn't manage this exhibition without him.

And after its undoubted success... can I hope to consider a return exhibition in Chicago?

Perhaps on the Italian architect Piranesi.

"Signor" Caspetti is a great authority on Piranesi.

I wonder if Kracklite realizes that his hero is not that well-known in Italy.

Boullée is not that well-known anywhere.

In Texas, Kracklite was accused of inventing him.

Or perhaps Boullée is the ideal architect for your husband to invent.

However, thanks to him... we have nearly $1 million to persuade the Italian public... that Boullée is not a fiction.

That's a lot of money.

It's expensive to put on a large art exhibition in Rome.

I remember, "Signor" Kracklite, coming across a drawing by Boullée... when I was 10 years old.

It reminded me, I must admit, of Hell.

No doubt it was a childish idea... but it hasn't entirely left me.

I discovered Boullée about the same age as you, "Signor" Caspetti.

I must confess his designs have always reminded me of Heaven.

You hold the purse strings of my husband's exhibition?

Not entirely, but almost.

You're very young to be entrusted with so much money.

And you're very young to be entrusted with such an elderly husband.

Excuse me.

There is a story that the architect of this building... spent all the money on the marble. He didn't like wood.

And he skimped on the carpentry.

The real reason was that he hated carpenters, especially Joseph.

I suspect that he didn't believe in the virgin birth.

He could not reconcile himself... to the fact Joseph was 40 and the Virgin Mary was 14.

About the same difference as you and your wife... isn't it, Mr. Kracklite?

Approximately, yes.

But I thought that all Catholics believed in the virgin birth.

Not outside of marriage.

Do you believe in the virgin birth, Mr. Kracklite?

At this moment, "Signor" Caspetti, I'll settle for any kind of birth.

I've had several miscarriages.

Kracklite gets bored or impatient... or disillusioned with his projects... and I get anxious.

We could both be accused of unsatisfactory delivery.


Did you see that?

Now watch this.

Kracklite is going to be honored by Roman publicity.

Who is this man?

May I introduce to you "Signor" Salvatore Battistino... the Secretary of the Society of Historical Buildings.

And an expert on nightclubs.

May I? Dr. Trettorio.

Dr. Trettorio is an expert on the diseases of the ancient world.

Are you a modern architect, Mr. Kracklite?

No more modern than I should be.

No more modern than Boullée, would you say?

Replicas of whose buildings now appear in every authoritarian capital in the world.

Moscow, Peking, East Berlin.

And Rome, Signorina Speckler?

Are you saying Boullée was the first Fascist architect?

Ask my brother.

Do you think Mussolini admired Boullée?

Albert Speer did, and Speer was Hitler's architect.

Augustus would have admired Boullée.

Go to Via Ripetta. Look at his tomb.

Don't encourage him, please.

Augustus' wife chose it.

But first she made sure he would fit inside it... after all the trouble she had taken.

Trouble? What trouble? Poison.

You see, Augustus felt this dryness at the back of his throat... and then a cold shiver across his shoulders.

A pain... like a poker in the small of his back. A desire to vomit.

It was obviously poison.

His neck became stiff, his ears began to sing... his eyes to flutter.

The buttons popped off his jacket...

Jacket? Are you sure? Yes.

Caspasian believes everyone of substance wears a suit.

And a gallon of yellow bile erupted from his mouth...

Sorry, Flavia. It was just a history lesson.

For foreigners.

"Signor" Battistino. You all right?

Of course he's all right.

It sounded like he was dying just a few minutes ago.

Well, an exhibition like this in Rome... about an obscure French architect organized by an American architect... needs all the publicity it can get.

Wouldn't you say?

I'm gonna go back to the apartment. I've got some work to do.

Why don't you go sight-seeing? The Specklers can take you.

God, Stourley! Why don't you take me?

Louisa, please, go with the Specklers. I'll talk to you later.

Say goodbye for me, okay?

Anything for Boullée.

Beg your pardon? It is closed.

There is nothing much inside anyway.

This is the Tomb of Augustus?

Yes, but he is not at home.

Louisa, do you like figs? Yes.

I want you to eat a fig for me. Not now.

Why not now?

Because it's late and I'm sleeping.

Come on.

Just eat a fig for me. You can have a little wine afterwards.

Why? Come on.

Come on, do it for me. Stop it.

Take a big bite out of it.

I don't want one. Eat the fig.

God damn it. Eat it! You're hurting me!

Why did you do that?

Okay. All right, I see.

What do you see?

You say you like figs, but you never touch them, do you? Never.

What is this about?

I just wanted to see what happened to you if you ate one of those figs, that's all.

Don't stand there like that.

You'll catch your death of cold. Get back into bed.


They are some kind of aphrodisiac, right? Is that...

All right, just forget it! No, I'm not gonna forget it.

You come on like a madman and then you tell me to forget it.

What's wrong with you?

I wanted to see if you're as frightened of eating those figs as I am.

Are you scared?

Come on, are you scared to eat those figs? Are you?

Answer me. Are you frightened to eat those figs?

Answer me!

Why should I be frightened?

I think you ought to see a doctor.

Monday, May 20.

Monsieur Boullée...

I hope you don't mind me writing to you like this.

I feel I know you well enough to talk to you.

I think my wife is poisoning me.

You can laugh, but I'm serious.

I'm sure it's part of her... general animosity towards you.

Yours with respect, Stourley Kracklite.


If you are being poisoned, you'd know it. What are your symptoms?

I've made some notes.

The stomach of Augustus.

Do you have such a heroic abdomen?

Take off your shirt.

Where does it ache? Right about here.

Breathe deeply.

Where did you eat your figs?

At a restaurant opposite the Pantheon.

A fine building.

Are you married? Yes.

Is your wife Italian?

Her parents were Italian, yes. From Umbria.

A fine fig-growing area. Do you sleep well at night?

I did before I got to Rome.

Mr. Architect, I can assure you that you are not being poisoned.

I would suggest that you are suffering from dyspepsia... fatigue, over-excitement... excess and unfamiliar food... lack of exercise, too much coffee... and maybe also too much egotism.

Take these... and obey the instructions.

Is Augustus a hero of yours, Doctor?

Not particularly. He amuses me.

Are you easily amused?

What frame of mind better suits a doctor?

Where is Kracklite now?

I don't know. Out marching around Rome somewhere.

He's out when I wake up and he's asleep when I come in.

What are these?

Something for the exhibition.

No. Look at this.

What is he doing?

Does he think he's Augustus? No. He thinks he's Boullée.

He's obsessed with his stomach.

Maybe he thinks he's going to have a baby.

When are you going to have a baby?

You could have waited for me downstairs.

You would look very beautiful pregnant.

If I may say so... since you've been in Rome, you've put on a little weight.

If you became pregnant, you would put on even more here.

You seem to know a lot about it.

And here.

You take night classes in obstetrics?

Architects ought to know about everything:

Reproduction, gender, sex.

Especially sex.

Form, shape... function, elegance...

Proportionally strong... enduring... reliable.

And cost-effective.

You're talking to an architect's wife.

I wish I was talking to an architect's mistress.

God, Caspasian!

Kracklite was never that forward.

He was never that talented. Or that arrogant.

Still, you've taken your time.

I've been here for 10 weeks.

I would have thought, with your reputation, you would have made a move before now.

Maybe I was waiting for a sign from you.

What kind of sign?

Putting on a little more weight... becoming more Roman.

I've guessed.


It's all right.

Have you told Kracklite?

No. I haven't. Why not?

If you could guess that I was pregnant, why couldn't he?

July 31. Dear Boullée... the Italians are catching on at last. They're actually beginning to like you... though it doesn't seem to make them work any faster.

Caspasian has already spent 400 million lire.

There seems to be very little to show for it.


If we intend to open on your birthday, as we must... we have barely six months to go. Six.

Six months.

Why is it so difficult? Difficult?

Everything has got to be debated, or qualified, or contradicted.

They're not difficult. You have them excited.

This is the first time the Victor Emmanuel Building is being used for an exhibition.

You ought to be grateful. Grateful.

Where is Caspasian? He should be here.

Caspasian's out buying. Buying what?

He's having the staircase repainted.

He's ordered 2,000 liters of blue matte emulsion... and the same of green.

Blue and green? No.

There's gonna be no blue and no green in my exhibition.

Boullée hated those colors. How did you discover that?

Caspasian's found...

$25,000 worth of laser equipment.

What the hell for?

He's got a plan to use laser beams... to join all the buildings in Rome that influenced Boullée.

Jesus Christ!

He's turning this exhibition into a goddamn carnival.

He's got no business doing that.

Don't you think it's a good idea? Good idea?

All right. What's the scale?

It's what you asked for.

Is it centimeters or inches? Centimeters.

No self-respecting architect uses inches.

Did Boullée use inches?

He used Boullées.

How long are they?

The distance from the nose to the navel.

His buildings were based on human anatomy.

He certainly wasn't a prude.

Are you a prude, "Signor" Kracklite?

Ask my wife.

Ask your son to ask his wife.

Why did you do that?

To prove, if proof were needed, that you bleed very easily.

No more, no less.

He deserved it, but it was an unwise show of anger.

It is said that Hadrian, the man who built all this... was a man who suffered from skin disease... and who needed to keep his skin wet... to stop him from scratching himself to pieces.

Hence the baths.

You are talking about Caracalla. Hadrian was a genius...

Caracalla merely a thug.

Here at the Villa Adriana...

Hadrian created modern architecture.

It is not unlikely we are sitting in the seventh tepidarium... in four foot and six inches... of tepid and most probably dirty water.

It almost certainly would not meet our contemporary hygiene standards.

I think it looks better as a ruin.

Rome in ruins has had more influence on architecture... than it ever would brand-new.

What you can't see, you can imagine.

Sounds like a woman with clothes on.

Watch out, it might be rabid. Don't get hysterical.

It certainly looks ill.

Tuesday, August 6. Dear Étienne-Louis Boullée... the pains are returning, and I can't eat without vomiting.

It ought to be shot.

Would you shoot anything that looks sick?

What now, Kracklite?

Are you looking for sympathy? Shut up.

If you breathe in and press your finger just to the right of your navel... can you feel a hard lump?

Some days it's spherical, some days it feels like a cube.

Most days it feels like a sharp-cornered pyramid.

Did the Pharaohs suffer from stomach cramps?

The Emperor Hadrian died of a perforated ulcer.

When you're 54, and grateful for being able to sleep at night... eat badly, and pee like a fire engine... what do you do if you suspect your wife no longer cares for your company?

I'm sorry, Étienne.

Since you never had a wife, it was never your problem.

All right, Kracklite, what are you doing?

I'm drowning.

It's no good.

Your body just won't let you do it!

Nobody ever died by voluntarily ceasing to breathe.

If you managed to stop breathing, you'd fall unconscious... and then your goddamn body starts to breathe again.

Since you're in the bath... why not try slitting your wrists?

That is very appropriate for Rome.

You'll have to wait a minute because I'm using your razor.

Livia was very hairy, too.

Who's Livia?

Augustus' wife.

How do you know she was hairy?

She left hair in the bath.

It's in Caesar's "Gallic Wars" in Book Five.

She tried to kill her husband. With his razor?

No, with figs. Poisoned figs.

Augustus fell for it, too.

At least, according to Robert Graves.

Who's he? Another architect?

No. Robert Graves is a mortuary attendant.

Where are you going? Out to dinner.

Caspasian and Flavia have invited me.

Why didn't they ask me?

You can come, if you like.

They didn't ask me personally.

I expect it's because you're so fussy about your food.

Caspasian can't stand vegetarians.

All fascists are meat-eaters.

That's funny. What's funny?

Because that's what he said about you.

What, that I'm a fascist?

That's ironic, coming from him.

You look good. You look very good.

In fact, you look so good, I wouldn't be surprised... if you were going out with Caspasian alone.

He's entertaining.

So I've noticed. What's that supposed to mean?

I watched the two of you together at the baths in Villa Adriana.

Don't worry. The location was very appropriate.

You were continuing a tradition of 1,600 years.

The baths have always attracted whores and prostitutes.

I'm pregnant.

You're what?

Are you sure?

Don't look so surprised. It's yours.

When did it happen?

Stourley, how could you not have noticed?

Must have been on the train to Rome.

But that was two months ago. Closer to three.

You've hardly been near me since.

Boullée and your stomachaches are more important.

Are you sure this time? Yes.

Which side of the border? What?

I think it was the Italian side... but I'm not exactly sure how fast the train was going.

Wednesday, August 7. Dear Étienne-Louis... apparently I'm to be a father.

Were you ever a father?

If your wife is unfaithful, how can you ever be sure that the child is really yours?

My belly aches again.

I eat only fruit, given up meat.

Is that wise?

With regards, Stourley Kracklite.

You think he's here for the architecture or for the religion?

What does his wife think?

She does not think.

She's American.

He's learning.

There you are. 20 million lire.

Officially, it's been credited to catering expenses. Bank it.

We'll be able to make another deposit in one month.

Kracklite will never know.

Boullée will be doing us a service.

When talking of Boullée, look what I found.

Very "Signor" Kracklite.

It's even got his paunch.

I'm sure you can sell it to him as a fair likeness of his hero.

And now, I have my assignation... with a lady who eats cake.

Will you see me out?

What are you doing, Kracklite?

Wondering what you're doing with a briefcase full of American dollars.

It's to pay for the models.

I could get those models for half the price in Chicago.

Speaking of models, what's happened to the model of the Boullée lighthouse?

It was to be ready three weeks ago.

Caspasian has taken it to your apartment.

Look, he's asked me to give you this.

It's Boullée.

What makes you think it's Boullée?

There are no likenesses of Boullée.

I should know. I've been searching for one for 10 years.

If anything, this looks suspiciously like Piranesi.

The inscription is French and the date is correct.

Caspasian found it at the Bibliothèque nationale.

That doesn't prove it's Boullée. What doesn't prove it's Boullée?

His picture hanging in the Bibliothèque nationale.

Good evening, gentlemen. Working late?

We meet again, Stourley. This time in the gentlemen's toilet.

Let me have a look.

He's wearing a toga romana and, I do believe, lace-up shoes.

And by the expression on his face... it looks like his shoes are pinching his feet.

No. He's just eaten something nasty.

I'm afraid it's worse than that.

Disease of the pancreas.

Pancreatic carcinoma.

Boullée died of cancer?

How do you know that?

Don't be stupid. We are joking.

I'll give you a lift. Okay.

- Ciao. Ciao.

What have you still got to do?

The research materials for the catalog haven't been finished yet.

The proofs are due at the printer's next Tuesday.

There are still major problems with the color reproduction.

The main gallery hasn't been started due to the hold-up on the Newton model.

And of course we have to pay the electricians to stand by... otherwise we'll lose them.

Do you feel any better? No.

They tell me it's constipation.

But it's gone on far too long for it to be just that.

We could delay the opening date. No, that's just what we cannot do.

Then offload some of your responsibility. Give it to Caspasian.

He can take care of the details for a few weeks.

Yeah, that's just what I'm afraid of.

He's capable enough. No.

Caspasian has taken over too much of my life already.

Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?

Go on.

Why did you divorce your wife?


I suspected her of having an affair.

And were your suspicions well-founded?

I thought so at the time. Now I'm not so sure.

I think, in fact... that the man was after my daughter, Flavia, not my wife.

But the damage was done.

Too much had been said, too much vengeance taken.

Look, Kracklite, if you won't take time off... at least come to the baths.

It'll do you good.

When things slacken off later.

Now I just want to go home and try to sleep.

Hello, Joe.

Why are you crying?

I'm crying because there's a draft... through the keyhole. It hits me in the eye.

He's got a draft in his eye.

Thursday, August 22.

Dear Étienne-Louis...

I wonder why you never came to Rome?

Did traveling make you ill?

Were you suspicious of foreigners?

Did you ever eat an orange?

Did you even know what vitamin C was?

It's supposed to make you healthy.

I'm sorry, I don't speak Italian.

Mind if I watch?

Étienne-Louis, what was the current stomach complaint when you were alive?

Gallstones? Kidney stones? Appendicitis?

Pancreatic carcinoma?

"Signor" Kracklite, do you dream?


What do you dream of?

Lately, stairs.

I'm always climbing stairs.

Or falling down stairs.

A sure sign of dyspepsia.

No, I don't believe that anymore.

Then what do you believe?

Boullée died of cancer.

Your respect for the man, Kracklite... does not imply that you have to suffer his injuries.

Monsieur Boullée was a French hypochondriac.

Did you know that? No.

He was a little lame. Are you a little lame? No.

He suffered from gout.

He was afraid of thunderstorms.

They made him incontinent.

You seem very well-informed.

Why do you think he built so little? Why do you think he traveled so little?

His illness incapacitated him.

He stayed at home for fear of embarrassment abroad.

Look, Kracklite...

I can't examine you here.

But if you are worried...

I can make an appointment for you with my cousin for next week.

He's a stomach specialist.

He specializes in the guts of priests.

Did you know that the average human intestine is 27 feet long... but the guts of a priest are 3 feet longer?

On account of the indigestible consecrated host?

No. Much simpler.

"The Lord moves in mysterious ways... his duties to perform."

I think you look beautiful pregnant.

Like I said you would.

My sister wants to photograph you. What for?

For her, for you... for me.

And for Kracklite?


Would you like to do it? No.

Why not?

Your sister worries me.

She's even more predatory than you are.


I think she's a hermaphrodite.

I can assure you that she is not.

How do you know?

She is my sister.

We used to bathe together.

That was a long time ago.

Is last Tuesday a long time ago?


I was joking.






Friday, January 10. Dear Étienne-Louis...

I don't like doctors.

They always see you at a disadvantage.

When they've studied your private parts... smelled your breath, fingered your tongue... how can you talk with them as an equal?

Are you ready?

Now, "Signor" Kracklite, would you lie on your left side, please?

And bend your knees.

I trust you know what we intend doing?

It will be a little uncomfortable... but with the anesthetic, you will feel very little.

We intend examining your intestine with a probe.

With an optical light source... we'll take a small television camera into your large intestine... take live pictures that will appear on a television monitor.

This will allow us to search for any irregularities.

We will then make our full report and ask you to come back.

I wish I could take Kracklite's baby out... and put mine in its place.

What difference would that make?

It would still be the child of an architect.

Yes, but at least with me, it would not be posthumously.


The way Kracklite is going, he won't last till summer.

Tell me, Kracklite, why don't you photograph women?

Different metabolism, different organs... different complaints.

Have you eaten?

Well, if you buy me a meal...

I'll take the photos for you.

Are you interested just in the cocks?

No, I'm interested just in the bellies.

A new erogenous zone?

It's been noticed that you steal postcards.

Postcards are part of a city's publicity campaign.

I am just helping to distribute the advertisements.

This is an expensive camera.

It's a get-well present. Who gave it to you?

I gave it to myself.

Caspasian always said you were a generous man.

Well, Caspasian would know.

You look like a tired old man who's just come up out of the sea.

Well, I've tried a little drowning.

Let's try a little more.

Come into my studio.

I'll process your film while you take a shower.

We'll see which comes out of the bath the more developed.

When I first saw you, Stourley... at the Pantheon dinner eight months ago... you reminded me of this painting.

Andrea Doria.

He had a belly, and wasn't shy about showing it.

He always fascinated me.

And you, Stourley, have proved to be just as fascinating.

I can't paint.

But I can take a photograph.


You have now made it plain... that what is good for the goose, is good for the philanderer.

An English proverb?

Philanderer? That's very funny coming from you.

Your wife is very beautiful, "Signor" Kracklite... especially when she is pregnant.

Yes, that's right. She is pregnant. But not with your child, Speckler.

True. I'm very grateful to you for that.

Your child, shall we say... is the most perfect contraceptive.

Don't get your blood on my white towel.

I take it that you will now give Louisa... as much freedom as you've taken yourself.

One hardly can give what has already been taken.

Nonetheless, I'm sure you don't want her to know.

There are enough stomachs here to have many illnesses.

What about the ones in the camera?


So how is the exhibition progressing?

Are you still in full control of things?

Don't you think you should hand over the reins to somebody else?

Is that what this is?

This is a setup? You're trying to blackmail me?

You think I would turn over the exhibition to you... just to keep my wife from knowing I tried to screw your sister?

Thank you, Stourley, for the compliment.

But don't worry. Caspasian is always overreaching himself.

If you want a really serious quarrel...

I'm sorry, but there is no film in the camera.

Well, we've done it. Kracklite is finished.

He's looking a mess. He's grotesque.

Trettorio says he won't last till August.

And I've got another 16 million from the publicity account.

And the cupola will never be finished... because Kracklite says he wants the olden color.

"My architect Boullée knew more about color... than Leonardo da Vinci.

And more about publicity than Michelangelo Buonarroti.

And more about making love than Casanova."

Kracklite, we've got to see you.

The bank has stopped the cash flow.

It looks as though the bankers have found out... that you are a sick man.

They want you to have a medical examination.

I'm not a sick man!

I just had one.

Caspetti has asked... that Caspasian should be made the director of the exhibition.

He what?

He thinks that the exhibition is too academic.

He thinks you've got too many domestic problems.

What the hell has that got to do with anything?

He thinks that Caspasian will give the exhibition... a more Roman and optimistic bias.

Optimistic. Is that what the laser beams are for?

Caspasian's optimism?

Over my dead body!

Not a bad prognosis.

What was that? What?

I'm just as healthy as you are. Stourley, you know that's not true.

Are you going to punch me on the nose again?

Your friend, Caspetti... he was against Boullée right from the start.

Said he reminded him of Hell. I'll give him hell.

Kracklite, I'm afraid that they've put up an ultimatum.

We need another 300 million lire.

But the bank thinks you are unreliable.

You have to resign if you want the exhibition to go on.

We can't let it collapse now.

You're damn right we can't.

Let Caspetti believe Caspasian is in charge.


No, I can't do that. Stourley, I don't think we have a choice.

Look, I'll think of something.

Don't be absurd. We open in 12 days.

Where the hell is Caspasian anyway?

He should be here to deal with this.

He's the one who's been spending all the goddamn money.

Yeah, he's been behind this all along. That bastard son of yours.

He's determined to get his hands on this exhibition right from the start.

Where is he? He's not here. He's out.

He's out? He's out where?

Raising funds.

I'll bet he's not raising funds for Boullée.

You're right. Then what for?

Some restoration work. Where? Doing what?

Restoring Mussolini's Foro Italica.

So that's where all the money has been going?

I've been subsidizing that goddamn fascist playground!

Kracklite, you can't say that.

And you certainly couldn't prove it.

Don't you think Boullée would have been the first to applauded... such a visionary piece of architectural theater?

Why isn't Caspasian raising money for Boullée?

Look. Take a look.

If they could do it to Battistino, one of their own, they could do it to me.

And I'm not faking.

So you admit you're ill? Ill?

Christ, I'm sick as a dog.

But I'm still tough enough to take you on.

And Pastarri! And Caspetti!

And Caspasian, and all the rest of you.

I'll get that money.

I'll get that goddamn money, if I have to steal it.

Where the hell have you been? Wouldn't you like to know?

As if you cared.

That's all right, we'll keep it all in the family.

What is that supposed to mean?

It means that we've seen the same doctor... and the same photographer, haven't we?

And not with the same complaint.

Though you might as well. Your stomach's almost as big as mine.

I made some decisions.

I'm gonna mortgage the house in Chicago.

Oh, really? What for?

It's my house.

You built it for me, don't you remember?

With its wide-open, drafty spaces... and its rounded corners where you can't fit any furniture.

I'm gonna change the beneficiaries of the trust fund.

Oh, no, you don't. I need $200,000 right away.

Caspasian could get that sort of money by snapping his fingers.

Snapping his fingers?

I'd like to snap his neck.

He's snapped you up very quickly, hasn't he?

Well, he's not gonna snap up my exhibition.

I'll tell you something else.

I'm gonna change my will. What will?

I refuse to let my exhibition slip through my fingers... if it's the last thing I ever do.

And it will be, the way that you're going.

You're not gonna ruin my child's future... for the sake of another unfinished Kracklite fiasco.

Our child!

Or do you even care who the father is?

No! No, of course not!

I'll tell you something else. Our child is gonna be born in America.

He is?

As soon as this exhibition is opened... we're going home. We are?

I like the idea of him being born in Italy.

I think I'll call him Luigi.

I was sure you were gonna call him Caspasian.

What makes you think it's a boy?

By the shape of my stomach... that you haven't even looked at in the last four months.

And who told you that? Let me see if I can guess.

That great medical architect, Caspasian Speckler.

As a matter of fact, his sister.

His sister? All the Specklers have studied gynecology?

You're the one with the obsessional interest in stomachs.

Masculine stomachs.

Are you going off women completely?

Well, if you have, here's something to remind you what they look like!

This is awful.

These are obscene! Are they?

Jesus, displaying yourself like this!

It's for art, Kracklite.

Everything's permissible for art.

Look at our marriage:

Art first, Kracklite second... and the rest a long way down the line.

That's my child in here.

Oh, right. That's the heart of the matter.

Do you really think you have the right to feel prostituted?

Look, I'm due in a month... the exhibition opens in 12 days... and you're unreliable.

I have no intention of losing this child... or of dropping it too soon.

And I'd like it to have a future.

I'm moving out.

Where are you going?

As if it's any of your business, which I doubt...

I'm going to stay with Caspasian.

He'll take care of me until after the baby is born.

After that, I don't know.

Please, don't leave me now. Please.

It's too late for that, Stourley.

I said...

I just don't need you anymore.

Whatever the results of the medical examinations... everyone feels that you can do no more for Boullée.

He's in safe hands.

I'm sorry, Kracklite. Very sorry.

But you've got to accept that you've lost.

The exhibition is not yours anymore.

You've got to retire.


Of course, we would like you to open the exhibition.

And then you must leave the running of the exhibition to Caspasian.

To us.

After the opening, why don't you go back to Chicago... and take a well-deserved rest?

Shall I wait for you?

Monday, February 10.

Dear Étienne-Louis...

It's no good, Étienne. I've been fired.

I've been kicked out of the exhibition I spent the last 10 years of my life planning.

It's Caspasian's fault.

He's run off with my wife, my child... our exhibition.

But I've got an idea!

Suppose you came to open the exhibition.

Why don't you come and open it with me?

How about that? That would show them.

You could stay in my apartment.

Louisa's not there anymore. I don't sleep too well...

but I'm sure we could manage.

Yours with respect...

Stourley Kracklite.



He was a miserable sort of man. Bisexual, fancied mature slaves.

Especially if they had been a little mutilated.

All his freed men had no fingers on their left hand.

He's dead. Died screaming.


Started off well enough. Soon became greedy.

Disemboweled on the Tiber steps.

He's dead. Died screaming.


As you know, an architect of some repute. He put a lot of faith in stones.

He died peacefully, planning a temple to Wisdom.

Still, he's dead.

Nero. It's best not to talk about him.

He caused untold damage, burnt Rome.

He deserved to die.

He died screaming in a summerhouse.

And he's unknown. No name.

Still, he looks serene enough.

Let's suppose he was you.

Same fleshy face. What happened to him?

How did he die?

He died alone... at noon, in a parked car on Lakeshore Drive in Chicago.

Stock-market report playing on the car radio.

He had shaved off his beard... he was wearing an English suit... and Italian shoes.

Is that what you want? Is that what I want?


No, he died much later, aged 71. Same age as Boullée.

He was sitting in a garden at 4:00 in the afternoon... facing south.

Somewhere near Rome.

He could hear the sound of water.

His 6-year-old grandson playing in the gravel.

His wife...

His second wife... picking orange blossoms.

A little sentimental, no?

What the hell, when you're 71, you can afford a little sentiment.

Far from home?


A home should be no particular problem.

A sort of late spring death? You prefer a late spring?

How far into late spring?

Maybe last week of May.

The first week of June.


Tell me, Doctor, do you...

Tell me, Doctor, do you... take this trouble with all your patients?

I must admit, it's not the first time.

Though, in another case, the details may not be quite so architectural.

Still, you must admit, there is some comfort to be had in contemplating... the folly of so many dead, don't you think?

And more comfort still in contemplating the continuity.

Thank you.


There's not much elbow room here.

What happened to this place?

Where is my sign?

Here you are.

You all right? No.

I wouldn't eat those figs if I were you, lady.

They're aphrodisiacs. You don't look like you're up to it to me, I'm sorry.

Okay, I'm sorry.

What are you calling him for? He's not gonna do you any good.

Go on. No, wait.

I'm gonna sit down... and I'm gonna have dinner here, okay?

'Cause, see, my doctor says I should eat in company.

See? I have to eat in company.

My wife wants to eat in company all the time.

In fact, my wife likes to eat company.

I like to eat company, too.

We're all the same, aren't we?

Come on, we're all the same.

We speak a different language, but we have the same metabolism!

See, the difference is...

I'm interested in bellies.

Say, you have a belly. There's your belly, right there, see?

I'm sorry. All right, I'll say "stomach."

"Stomach" in mixed company.

Come here. Come over here.

You have a belly, too. Here, see? You got a belly. See?

I got a belly. I'll tell you what.

I'll show you mine, if you show me yours. Here's mine.

There's mine, okay?

It's the same as yours, a little larger than yours.

See, the difference is... mine is being eaten away.

Mine is rotting away from the inside. You understand what I'm saying?

No! I'm talking to the lady here.

Here, put your hand out. Come on, touch it.

It won't bite you. It only bites me!

It has cancer, see?

It's cancer.

See, I have cancer. Stomach cancer.

It's cancer!

You know something?

Jesus Christ himself would have died of stomach cancer... if you people hadn't crucified him first!

That's right!


"Signor" Kracklite.


Kracklite, Stourley Kracklite.

Nationality? American.

Place of birth?

Chicago, Illinois.

Present address?


Age next birthday?

I'm not gonna have another birthday.



Married? Yeah.




I'm an architect.

That's all.

Thank you. You may go.

You mean, that's really all?

What else could there be?

I'm sorry that we're late. It's my fault. I don't feel very well.

We almost didn't make it. Where's Kracklite?

I need to sit down.

Whatever else has happened, this was always Kracklite's exhibition.

Louisa, can you find a way to help us... and open up in his behalf?

Kracklite said a long time ago... that you have often officiated occasions like this:

Opening supermarkets, naval ships... and cutting the tape.

I think Caspasian should do it.

Caspasian, this is not for you.

Be content with what you've got.

Here, take it.



We are delighted, "Signora" Kracklite, that you have agreed to do this.

Louisa, please.

We can continue to benefit from the prestige of an American celebrity.

Without the embarrassment... of her clown of a husband.

And so, it is with great delight... that on Boullée's birthday...

I ask "Signora" Kracklite... to declare this magnificent exhibition open.