thu 28/05/2015

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

1945: The Savage Peace, BBC Two

“Enjoy the war, for the peace will be savage,” was apparently a macabre joke circulating in the German military towards the end of World War Two. Peter Molloy’s searing documentary, 1945: The Savage...

Read more...

The Tribe

In The Tribe, his feature debut, Ukrainian director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy has created something totally unexpected, and viscerally powerful to boot. This dark tale of life among inmates of a Kyiv...

Read more...

Stray Dogs

Whatever you make of Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang’s Stray Dogs (Jiao you), it’ll likely have you looking at your watch. If you’re hypnotized by its almost narrative-free, stretched naturalism...

Read more...

DVD: Turned Towards the Sun

The phrase “improbable life” crops up more than once in Greg Olliver’s highly engaging documentary Turned Towards the Sun about the poet Micky Burn (its title is that of the writer’s autobiography)....

Read more...

The Game, BBC Two

Rum old business, espionage – at least in the way we Brits are still pursuing it. For all the reality that the existential threat has long moved locations, in its television incarnations we remain...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

latest in today

Sylvie Guillem, Life in Progress, Sadler's Wells

Ballerina says goodbye with new works from Khan, Maliphant

Schubert Sonatas 1, Barenboim, RFH

The new instrument sounds sublime, but is the player on this occasion?

Fleetwood Mac, Reunion Tour, O2 Arena

Balance restored as a magnificent five-piece, but they could talk less

Temple, Donmar Warehouse

New play about the Occupy movement starring Simon Russell Beale is deep but...

Timbuktu

Quietly powerful, justly Oscar-nominated drama from Abderrahmane Sissako

SunTrap, BBC One

Austin Powers meets Tim Vine meets a script of breathtaking flimsiness

CD: Jamie xx - In Colour

xx producer's solo foray takes a unique, disembodied wander round the...

Danny Collins

Al Pacino returns in irresistibly barnstorming form

The Beaux' Stratagem, National Theatre

Energetic and irreverent comic delight from start to finish

Common People Festival, Southampton

Grace Jones and Clean Bandit headline a boisterous new event from the Besti...