tue 25/11/2014

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

Concerning Violence

In Concerning Violence Göran Hugo Olsson has created an almanac documentary drawing on material from Swedish television archives, filmed by a number of directors in Africa, largely in the 1970s. It’s...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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)...

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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....

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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latest in today

DVD: Mood Indigo

A subterranean film about the factory of the self

Posh People: Inside Tatler, BBC Two

Entertaining enough, but this three-parter is about as vapid as its subject

Listed: Science Fiction in Videogames

Nearly all videogames are fantastical, but few are interestingly fantastica...

Saxon Court, Southwark Playhouse

Brassy office comedy recalls the early days of financial crisis

Miloš Karadaglić, 'the guitar player of the people...

How the man from Montenegro put the classical guitar in the spotlight

Piranha Heights, Old Red Lion Theatre

Excitingly relevant revival of Philip Ridley’s 2008 play about sibling riva...

Charles Lloyd / Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas, Barbican

A jazz festival finale of rare brilliance

Sci-Fi Week: Out of the Unknown

At last: the cult 1960s science fiction series finally comes to DVD

Robert Mitchell's 'Invocation', Queen Elizabe...

An exciting new chapter in award-winning artist's development

Concerning Violence

Frantz Fanon’s decolonization seen through 1970s Swedish television Africa...