mon 24/11/2014

Tom Birchenough

tom.birchenough

Tom Birchenough's picture
Bio
Tom has been based largely in Moscow since 1991, from where he has written for a range of publications. He has contributed to Variety since 1993, and was for many years the film critic for the main English-language publication in Russia, The Moscow Times. He has been associate producer on a number of television documentaries on Russian subjects.

Articles by Tom Birchenough

DVD: Ida

Pawel Pawlikowski took a leap into the unknown with Ida. The reasons for advance box office scepticism were clear: the film was black and white, made in an old-fashioned ratio, in Polish (until then...

Read more...

Winter Sleep

This year’s Palme d’Or winner at Cannes, Turkish master Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Winter Sleep (Kiş Uykusu), is a monumental film. Not merely in its scale – though at 196 minutes, it certainly clocks in on...

Read more...

Leviathan

It’s fascinating to catch the moment when an already great film director moves onwards and upwards, to another level. Russia’s Andrei Zvyagintsev has been collecting major festival prizes for more...

Read more...

Leviathan: Attacking Putin's Russia From Inside the Whale

When Andrei Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan opens in Russia early next year it won’t be in the director’s cut. Given new legislation effective from this past July, it will be against the law to include the...

Read more...

The Overnighters

In The Overnighters documentarist Jesse Moss found his story and pursued it with remarkable empathy, all in the best traditions of the genre. He persuaded both sides in this tale of (quiet)...

Read more...

DVD: Sofia's Last Ambulance

There are moments in observational documentary that sometimes seem to rise to the drama of fictional cinema, and Ilian Metev’s Sofia’s Last Ambulance (Poslednata lineika na Sofia) has plenty such....

Read more...

The Way He Looks

Falling in love for the first time is one of the standard tropes of the movies. Brazilian director Daniel Ribeiro gives it a new twist by making the teenage hero of his The Way He Looks (Hoje Eu...

Read more...

Storyville: Russia's Toughest Prison - The Condemned, BBC Four

The initial challenge – and there should be no underestimating the scale of it – of Nick Read’s documentary Russia's Toughest Prison - The Condemned must have been getting into a location which the...

Read more...

Cosmonauts: How Russia Won the Space Race / The Spaceman of Afghanistan, BBC Four

Cosmonauts: How Russia Won the Space Race (*****) arrived at a strange time. With its remarkable accumulation of Soviet archive material and interviews with key figures, including Alexei Leonov, the...

Read more...

Cathedrals of Culture

Back at the Venice Biennale in 2010, the German film director Wim Wenders showed a 3D video installation titled “If Buildings Could Talk”.Exploring the theme of how architecture interacts with human...

Read more...

Notes from Underground, Print Room

“I am spiteful! I am ill! You are not going to like this!” With these words Harry Lloyd opens his one-man show that adapts the Dostoevsky 1864 novella that is often hailed as the first work of...

Read more...

Human Universe, BBC Two

Brian Cox has a very beguiling way of expressing quiet wonder. He’s taken on the very largest of subjects in Human Universe, extending traditions of science and natural history broadcasting towards a...

Read more...

You and the Night

At the risk of endorsing national stereotypes, I’ll still describe Yann Gonzalez’ feature debut You and the Night as a very French film. Its appearance in Critics’ Week at Cannes last year brought...

Read more...

DVD: Goltzius and the Pelican Company

In his director’s interview for Goltzius and the Pelican Company Peter Greenaway describes the public profiles that his films have achieved over the years, dividing them into an effective A and B...

Read more...

DVD: A Jester's Tale

The name of Czech director Karel Zeman is far less-known in the English-speaking world than it deserves to be. He began working during World War Two, establishing a name for himself in the rich Czech...

Read more...

Night Will Fall

More than once in André Singer’s documentary Night Will Fall, his interviewees describe their experience as like “looking into hell”. We hear phrases like “world of nightmare”, “utter shock”, “...

Read more...

latest in today

CD: Mind Fair - Mind Fair

Mind Fair take us for a wild, psychedelic ride on their debut album

Seven days of sci-fi

A week celebrating the futuristic and fantastical on theartsdesk. Begin tra...

Celebrating 75 years of Blue Note, Royal Festival Hall

All-star Blue Note sextet brings the audience to its feet

CD: Susan Boyle - Hope

Boyle's in fine vocal form, but sticks too closely to the path well tr...

The Institute of Sexology, Wellcome Collection

On the men and women who spent their lives researching sex

Reissue CDs Weekly: Jon Hassell / Brian Eno

How Eno’s co-opting of Jon Hassell’s avant-garde style changed the course o...

The Gospel According to the Other Mary, English National Ope...

Grace and pain stunningly interwoven in Adams' rich score and Sellars...

My Old Lady

Three fine actors adrift in a highly pictorial Paris

Kenny Barron and Dave Holland, Queen Elizabeth Hall

A subtle, interactive performance from two jazz masters

CD: David Guetta - Listen

French producer Guetta boasts another star-studded line-up, but can he do m...