thu 03/09/2015

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

Closed Curtain

Any consideration of Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s Closed Curtain will inevitably be through the prism of how it was made, and the director’s current position in his native country. It’s his second...

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Cartel Land

Cartel Land opens with a group of crystal meth cooks at work somewhere in the dead-of-night Mexican wilderness. They boast about the quality of their goods: they have the best production equipment,...

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The Trials of Jimmy Rose, ITV

“Breezy” isn't a word we associate with Ray Winstone. We’re more used to something like “big slab o’ bastard”, the epithet he got (they were biased Glaswegians, admittedly) most recently for his...

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Lady Anna: All At Sea, Park Theatre

If you were expecting a fusty, formal adaptation of Anthony Trollope – and one of his least known novels, to boot – Lady Anna: All At Sea will come as a breath of fresh air. Colin Blumenau’s...

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The President

What’s it really like to be a dictator? Or president, if we put it more circumspectly, as Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf does in his new film of that name – though this President clearly believes...

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The Scandalous Lady W, BBC Two

What exactly do we expect when a drama opens with the declaration, “This is a true story”? The Scandalous Lady W, based on Hallie Rubenhold’s biography Lady Worsley’s Whim, brought us some unusual...

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DVD: Glassland

For sheer, visceral performances we’ll be lucky if we get anything as strong this year as the central roles from Jack Reynor and Toni Collette in Gerald Barrett’s Glassland. Their mother-son...

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Theeb

The epic and the intimate combine impressively in Jordanian director Naji Abu Nowar’s debut feature Theeb. The epic is there is the scale of the stunning desert landscapes that are the backdrop –...

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The Race for the World's First Atomic Bomb, BBC Four

Haste was of the essence as the Allies hurried to create the ultimate weapon. They were fearful that Hitler’s Germany, which had been first to split the atom, would beat them to it – and they knew...

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The Heresy of Love, Shakespeare's Globe

Helen Edmundson’s The Heresy of Love may be set in 17th century Mexico and follow the conflict between strict religion and personal development, but its theme of a woman denied her voice by a...

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52 Tuesdays

An affectingly restrained Australian drama of adolescent development coloured by the repercussions of a parent undergoing gender transition, 52 Tuesdays may initially seem understated in its...

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Hard to Be a God

Don’t on any account be late for the first couple of minutes of the woolly mammoth that is Russian director Alexei German’s last film, Hard to Be a God, since the opening narrative voiceover gives a...

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DVD: War and Peace

Indian documentarist Anand Patwardhan is far less known outside his native country than he deserves to be, and his 2002 film about nuclear proliferation on the subcontinent War and Peace (Jang aur...

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Dispatches: Hunted - Gay and Afraid, Channel 4

There can’t be many American public figures who are welcome on Russian television these days, but Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage is one of them. In Hunted: Gay and Afraid we...

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The Legend of Barney Thomson

Its title may hint at exotic worlds – a Western, even – but Robert Carlyle’s directorial debut is anything but. Carlyle himself plays the title character, one of life’s losers (“haunted tree” being...

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Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners, BBC Two

If Britain has created a national myth about slavery, it’s surely been centred on the pioneering abolitionists whose actions in the early 19th century led first to the ending of the slave trade...

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latest in today

Closed Curtain

Allusive meditation on creativity from banned Iranian director Jafar Panahi

CD: The Libertines - Anthems For Doomed Youth

Doherty and Co return to the fray with more tales of London’s seedy underbe...

People, Places and Things, National Theatre

New drama about addiction is informative, didactic, clever, funny and often...

10 Questions for Musician John Lydon

The punk and post-punk icon lets rip

Prom 62: Barton, OAE, Alsop

Great mezzo and bright young choir fly up, orchestra and conductor remain b...

Cartel Land

Vivid documentary on resistance to Mexico's drug cartels hits home

Six of the best: Film

theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top movies out now

Heartless Bastards, Borderline

Texan rockers show that, vocally, bigger can indeed be better

CD: Nicolas Godin - Contrepoint

Stylish Bach-inspired solo album from one half of French band AIR

Listed: Essential Operas 2015-16

Our classical/opera writers choose 12 highlights of the coming season