tue 28/04/2015

Tom Birchenough

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

This World: World’s Richest Terror Army, BBC Two

You haven’t had to actually watch the brutal executions staged by Islamic State (IS, or ISIS or ISIL, as it’s also known) to register them: just a single image registered has been more than enough to...

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Exit

Taiwanese director Chienn Hsiang has given his lead actress Chen Shiang-chyi a role of rare complexity in Exit, and she dominates this bleakly naturalistic slice-of-life film completely. Chen’s...

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DVD: Traps/Fruit of Paradise

“Iconoclast” is the word used in one of the booklet essays accompanying Second Run’s rerelease of two films by the great Czech director Věra Chytilová (1929-2014) to describe her work. Other terms...

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Sex and the Church, BBC Two

I’ve got no idea what the opposite of dumbing down might be. Swatting up? Whatever it is, it’s surely going to set the tone for the next couple of Friday nights on BBC Two, where Sex and the Church...

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Force Majeure

The fault-lines of human relationships are tested in Swedish director Ruben Ostlund’s Force Majeure, and prove much more fraught than the physical threat inherent in the film’s glorious alpine...

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The Three Lions, St James Theatre

The devil gets the best lines, as usual. That may depend, of course, on whether we’re prepared to qualify David Cameron in that role, but in William Gaminara's rapid-firing farce The Three Lions, the...

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Storyville: Masterspy of Moscow - George Blake, BBC Four

“The righteous traitor” must be as provocative a subtitle as any when the subject is espionage. Director George Carey nevertheless used it in this highly revealing film about George Blake, the “spy...

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The Broken Heart, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Jacobean playwright John Ford is flavour of the season at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. His better-known, and simply better, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, opened the venue’s new programme last autumn and...

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Mommy

“Loving people doesn’t save them” could be the epitaph to the young Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s exuberant, emotionally draining fifth feature Mommy. Its vivid colours, concentrated in an unusual...

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Nina Conti Clowning Around, BBC Four

Ventriloquist Nina Conti, along with her wisecracking sidekick Monkey, has emerged as one of the sharper comedy acts of the past few years but Nina Conti Clowning Around was an uneasy, far from comic...

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DVD: Pictures of the Old World

Slovak director Dušan Hanák's 1972 documentary Pictures of the Old World (Obrazy starého sveta) is a real rediscovery, another in the remarkable haul that distributor Second Run has brought us from...

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Dreamcatcher

We get the big city views of Chicago, the bright lights and the skyscrapers, a few times in Kim Longinotto’s Dreamcatcher, but for the most part we’re planted firmly down at street level, in areas of...

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Appropriate Behaviour

There’s an engaging, indie sense of emotional flux in writer-director Desiree Akhavan’s feature debut Appropriate Behaviour, and a very funny script indeed behind it. Akhavan herself plays Shirin,...

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Hostages, BBC Four

Hostages certainly whips along. We’re straight into conflict from the very start of the first episode, except it soon transpires that the real action will be taking place elsewhere. And it’ll be...

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theartsdesk in Moscow: Remembering George Costakis

Russia’s national gallery, the Tretyakov, bears the name of its founder Pavel Tretyakov, the 19th-century merchant who bequeathed his huge collection of Russian art to the city of Moscow in 1892. His...

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The Romanians Are Coming, Channel 4

The Romanians Are Coming was the immigration story from the other side. Bustling along with the wry, sometimes desperate comedy (and themed music) of a Balkan film, its characters said things about...

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