Brian Dennehy stars as self-obsessed middle-aged American architect Stourley Kracklite who is travelling to Italy to supervise an exhibition in memory of the 18th-century French architect Étienne-Louis Boullée.
His work is subverted by his preoccupation with his own stomach pains (cue a scene where he photocopies hundreds of enlargements of the Emperor Augustus’s belly obsessively) and with attempts by his young wife Louisa (Chloe Webb) to conceive.
The film is a celebration of Rome and each shot is beautifully composed but responses to Peter Greenaway are usually split into love or loathing of his work.
This features his trademark strongly visual approach and multiple referencing to birth, death and the insubstantial human condition.
At turns fascinating and anal, this won’t disappoint Greenaway fans – but dissenters may prefer to avoid it.