wed 04/05/2016

Tom Birchenough

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tom.birchenough

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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: Mysterious Object at Noon

“By their beginnings, you shall know them” is a useful motto for cinematic rediscovery. Rather than predicting how a director’s creative path may develop in the future, you go in the opposite...

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Eisenstein in Guanajuato

This is an unashamed, fulsome, extravagant tribute from Peter Greenaway to his cinema idol. The British director – though that description is probably more point of origin these days than allegiance...

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In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel, Charing Cross Theatre

Was Tennessee Williams breaking rules, or breaking apart when he wrote this 1969 play? A bit of both, probably, and the two main characters of the rarely performed In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel face...

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Couple in a Hole

Traumatic obsession is hard to get right in film, to draw us as viewers into a situation far beyond our usual experience, make us believe in it, and fix us there. Sometimes it means pushing towards...

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Les Blancs, National Theatre

Lorraine Hansberry’s career as a playwright proved tragically short. A Raisin in the Sun is by some distance her best-known work, a key piece about the African American post-war experience. But she...

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Ran

Even by the varied experiences of transferring Shakespeare to another culture, with the attendant revelations that come when an original story is modified to match a world governed by very different...

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The Club

The Chilean director Pablo Larrain completed his loose trilogy about his country confronting the legacy of its Pinochet years four years ago with No. Striking a distinctly upbeat note after the two...

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Russia and the Arts, National Portrait Gallery

A good half of the portraits in Russia and the Arts are of figures without whom any conception of 19th century European culture would be incomplete. A felicitous subtitle, “The Age of Tolstoy and...

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Marguerite

You may never have heard of Florence Foster Jenkins, although she has definitely earned a certain renown among music-lovers. For all the wrong reasons: the American soprano, who performed at private...

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DVD: Something Different/A Bagful of Fleas

The expectation that late means great is one embedded deeply in our culture: that the consummation of creative endeavour finds its peak towards life’s conclusion, with experience assimilated into a...

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Churchill's Secret, ITV

When it comes to losing power, and powers failing, Michael Gambon has once again proved himself the ruler of choice. The actor who gave us his Lear when he was only just hitting his forties has had...

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Deutschland 83, Series Finale, Channel 4

Martin Rauch-stroke-Moritz Stamm, the reluctant spy who by the end of the final, double episode of this eight-parter had achieved more than most in that profession, managed the ultimate last night:...

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DVD: 99 Homes

The opening scene of Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes plunges us into the darker depths of American society, post-2008 financial crisis. We’re in the world of home repossessions, and the blood spattered...

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DVD: Tangerines

Georgian director Zaza Urushadze’s Tangerines made the shortlist of five for last year’s Best Foreign Film Oscar category (it didn't win). It was nominated from Georgia, but could equally well have...

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The Rolling Stone, Orange Tree Theatre

I’m still pondering the title of Chris Urch’s new play. On the surface it’s clear enough: The Rolling Stone is a weekly newspaper in Uganda that has been notorious for pursuing that country’s anti-...

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Lost in Karastan

Ah, the fascination of faraway countries of which we know nothing. And of dictators, always a species of interest to filmmakers, because you rarely have to make anything up – Chaplin, of course,...

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Piau, Les Talens Lyriques, Rousset, Wigmore Hall

An unexpectedly lacklustre evening from Rousset and his musicians