• 29 January 2019
  • 1:00 – 2:00 pm
  • Seminar Room, Paul Mellon Centre

In this talk I look at a particular film, Peter Greenaway’s The Belly of an Architect, (1987) and at a particular place, Rome, in which the film is set. The film itself is a postmodern handbag of monuments loosely held together with a plot that pits neoclassical rationality against classical imperialism. Greenaway presents the narrative as a sequence of postcards images of Rome that alternate with actual shots in the style of the postcards. The filmmaker originally intended to trace a route through the city, structured like a Situationist dérive, by using tourist postcards, each of which connected a monument in the foreground with another in the distance. When we watch a film we are caught up in its world, and recreate that in our imaginations, and, when we leave we walk out into our own worlds, our own cities, that have become writers, actor and director of themselves. The narrative is presented as a series of vedute, the travellers views, maps and postcards of some of the monuments of Rome, using the Greenaway film as a premise to explore the urb.

The Fellows Lunchs are a series talks given by recipients of Paul Mellon Centre Fellowships. Lunch is provided and all are welcome but please book a ticket in advance.

About the speaker

  • Renée Tobe is Reader in Architecture at University of East London and was Paul Mellon Research Fellow at the British School at Rome in 2018. Her publications include Film, Architecture and Spatial Imagination (Routledge, 2017). She investigates the political structures of cities, often expressed through the medium of film.