Bigga than Ben: The Russians’ Guide to Ripping Off London

There seems to have been a bit of a glut of films about Russians in London recently.

Partly, I suppose because of the simple fact that Russians are in London in huge numbers, partly because us Brits are a little bit scared of Russia, and partly because Russians are oddly fascinated by Britain (even though they pretend to hate us).

Bigga than Ben, the latest of the Russian London films takes a slightly different approach to its predecessors. Instead of focusing on the glamour of London, or the glamour of Russians in London, it focuses on the, well, the ordinary(ish) Russians just trying to illegally graft a living in London.

Based on Pavel Tetersky and Sergei Sakin’s award-winning diaries of their life in London, Bigga Than Ben was apparently a bit of a hit in Russia – it took $500,000 at the Russian Box Office. Starring Ben Barnes (Prince of Caspian), it’s – unsurprisingly – a dark comedy. It’d have to be really. But the producers for some reason, think it’s a “breezy, barbed satire”.

Bigga than Ben has had a pretty low key release in London. You can only see it at the Apollo West End, Genesis and Tricycle. Still, if you’re in London over the next couple of weeks, might be worth catching.

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6 Responses

  1. “that Russians are in London in huge numbers” – with all due respect, it would be fair to note that not only the Russians are in London in huge numbers.

    Dmitry Mdevedev´s last blog post..Russian Army Knife

  2. This post reminds me of John Howes Gleason’s “The Genesis of Russophobia in Great Britian,” Octagon Books, NY, 1972

  3. For clarity sake, Gleason’s 1972 book is a reprint of his earlier study on the subject.

  4. Alec L says:

    With a tagline that mentions “ripping off London,” it’s little wonder the film’s a hit in Russia, where the populace loves to feel like they’ve one-upped the West, facets of whose culture they are so rapidly adapting.
    For example, an article yesterday on the Voice of Russia website ( begins with the line, “One American myth after another is crumbling under the pressure of new challenges” before moving on to allegedly disprove the “sovereignty of the American press,” more than a bit ironic given the state (and state control) of the press in Russia.
    Alec L

    Alec L´s last blog post..Volga Boatman Episode 5: Saratov

  5. Ad-hoc Brit says:

    Alec, isn’t it farcical and grotesque to hear a Westerner say something like “facets of whose culture they are so rapidly adapting”. Having lived in the West (both North America and Europe) for over 15 years, I would think that the vast populace of NA as well as the UK is completely devoid of anything to be referred to as culture (unless, of course, one is not alluding to Mr Bean’s and Sasha Baron Cohen’s immortal cultural achievements). And it is truly unfortunate that the Russians _are_ indeed taking in the ‘cultural’ ersatz that is being spewed out on them from the West… Did I catch a tinge of pride in what you said?