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Comedy

Celebrating a world of side-splitting cinema, from slapstick legends to today's anarchic voices.

Fooling about became a fine art through the early decades of cinema, but comedy is too often under-recognised.

It’s the gift of perfect timing, an expertly executed sight-gag, a zinging wise-crack, a giddy rush of manic energy. Whether perfectly choreographed, brutally raw, or conjured out of improvisation and collaboration, the best comedy is ultimately disruptive.

It punctures pomposity, and blows a raspberry at social convention: the proto-feminist whiplash of screwball wit, the rambunctious working-class revolt of Carry On, the purposeful anarchy of alternative comedy.

Our Subscription collection is a legacy from the BFI's Comedy Genius blockbuster season in 2018 and highlights funny films from around the world, including great comedies from esteemed directors (Ingmar Bergman, Roberto Rossellini, Tsia Ming-liang), and some of the cynical and subversive works produced amid challenging political climates (Daisies, The Cremator, Dogtooth). Altogether we hope it upends perceptions about the English-language dominance of film comedy.

With a collection that ranges from silent slapstick heroes to contemporary satire, BFI Player celebrates the changing face of what – and who – we find funny.

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The Brand New TestamentThe Brand New Testament

Comedy2015110 minsDirector: Jaco van Dormael

Catherine Deneuve and Benoît Poelvoorde head the cast in Jaco Van Dormael’s wildly inventive comedy, in which God’s daughter decides to rewrite the rules.

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Black Mountain PoetsBlack Mountain Poets

Comedy201685 minsDirector: Jamie Adams

Alice Lowe and Dolly Wells play criminal sisters who steal the identity of two poets, only to be charmed by the world of competition poetry.

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KlokkenluiderKlokkenluider

Comedy202285 minsDirector: Neil Maskell

Edgy, darkly funny and claustrophobic comic thriller, in which a hapless government whistleblower and his partner hide out in a remote Belgian cottage, accompanied by two eccentric bodyguards.

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Wild MenWild Men

Comedy2021102 minsDirector: Thomas Daneskov

In this razor-sharp black comedy featuring Sofie Gråbøl (The Killing), Martin flees to the mountains in a desperate attempt to cure his midlife crisis.

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Days of the Bagnold SummerDays of the Bagnold Summer

Comedy201986 minsDirector: Simon Bird

Simon Bird’s directorial debut is a warm and witty graphic novel adaptation about a single librarian trying to reconnect with her introverted, metalhead teenage son.

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AfireAfire

Comedy2023103 minsDirector: Christian Petzold

Fires rage around a pompous novelist and his awkward desires in Christian Petzold’s sharp comedy drama.

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The Beta TestThe Beta Test

Comedy202193 minsDirector: Jim Cummings and PJ McCabe

Indie actor-director Jim Cummings returns after his breakout hit Thunder Road with a pacey down-the-rabbit-hole thriller about a Hollywood talent agent who becomes ensnared in a sinister world of sex, lies and murder.

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Frances HaFrances Ha

Comedy201286 minsDirector: Noah Baumbach

Barbie creators Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach hit their stride with this critical smash about an awkward girl and her complex passions.

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BagheadBaghead

Comedy200881 minsDirector: Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass

Greta Gerwig shines as one of four filmmaking friends who find their slasher screenplay idea turning into a terrifying reality, in this in ‘mumblegore’ horror-comedy.

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Sick of MyselfSick of Myself

Comedy202297 minsDirector: Kristoffer Borgli

She just did what! Attention-seeking Signe will do anything to keep the focus on herself, in this wildly demented comedy.

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City of Lost SoulsCity of Lost Souls

Comedy198390 minsDirector: Rosa von Praunheim

Jayne County, Angie Stardust and Tara O'Hara star in Rosa von Praunheim's trans-punk groteskes-musical.

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Thundercrack!Thundercrack!

Comedy1975160 minsDirector: Curt Mcdowell

One dark and stormy night a group of strangers take refuge in a remote house, and then… Not for the easily offended.

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Appropriate BehaviourAppropriate Behaviour

Comedy201586 minsDirector: Desiree Akhavan

Desiree Akhavan directs and stars in this witty, razor-sharp and fearless comedy following the sexual misadventures of a bisexual Brooklynite.

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FeathersFeathers

Comedy2021115 minsDirector: Omar El Zohairy

An avalanche of absurdities befalls a family when its authoritative patriarch gets turned into a chicken, in this surreal Cannes prize-winning satire.

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Wild TalesWild Tales

Comedy2014122 minsDirector: Damian Szifron

This Oscar-nominated, Almodóvar-produced anthology of six tales of ordinary madness is the most riotously enjoyable portmanteau film since Pulp Fiction.

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Gregory's GirlGregory's Girl

Comedy198192 minsDirector: Bill Forsyth

The ultimate depiction of coming-of-age awkwardness, Bill Forsyth’s comedy about a teen who falls for the new female footballer on the school team.

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Goodbye, Dragon InnGoodbye, Dragon Inn

Comedy200382 minsDirector: Tsai Ming-liang

An exquisite, wry tribute to the experience of cinema-going from director Tsai Ming-liang.

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Gone Too Far!Gone Too Far!

Comedy201488 minsDirector: Destiny Ekaragha

Riotous urban comedy adapted from the hit Royal Court play, about a Peckham teen affronted by the arrival of his long-lost Nigerian sibling.

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DaisiesDaisies

Comedy196673 minsDirector: Věra Chytilová

Two self-confessed hedonists wreak wanton havoc in Věra Chytilová's visually spectacular neo-dadaist farce.

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All My Friends Hate MeAll My Friends Hate Me

Comedy202294 minsDirector: Andrew Gaynord

A deliciously dark comedy about social paranoia that will have you joyfully squirming in your seat.

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The Wayward CloudThe Wayward Cloud

Comedy2004114 minsDirector: Tsai Ming-liang

Ming-Liang Tsai's outrageous blend of sex, comedy, musical and drama is a daring, controversial and hilarious smorgasbord from one of Taiwan's most acclaimed directors.

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DogtoothDogtooth

Drama200993 minsDirector: Yorgos Lanthimos

Yorgos Lanthimos' scary, witty tale of a dysfunctional Greek family is original, ingenious and sadly relevant as a study of parent-child relationships

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Pauline at the BeachPauline at the Beach

Comedy198295 minsDirector: Eric Rohmer

Eric Rohmer's final collaboration with the great cinematographer Néstor Almendros follows a holidaying teenager as she begins to navigate the adult world.

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Four Adventures of Reinette and MirabelleFour Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle

Comedy198699 minsDirector: Eric Rohmer

Eric Rohmer's delightful, episodic account of the blossoming friendship between a gauche, highly opinionated country girl and a more laid-back Parisian student.

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RiminiRimini

Drama202290 minsDirector: Ulrich Seidl

Impeccably styled and unflinchingly grim, this darkly humorous tale of a pop star past his prime finds Ulrich Seidl at his audacious best.

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Stolen KissesStolen Kisses

Comedy196891 minsDirector: François Truffaut

Naively idealistic and largely inept both in his dealings with women and in any job, Antoine clumsily courts Christine while working for a private detective agency.

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Love and Death on Long IslandLove and Death on Long Island

Comedy199889 minsDirector: Richard Kwietniowski

John Hurt stars in Richard Kwietniowski’s comedy of fame and obsession about an older man (Hurt) who becomes infatuated with a young Hollywood actor (Jason Priestley), and proceeds to track him down.

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Non-FictionNon-Fiction

Comedy2017107 minsDirector: Olivier Assayas

Juliette Binoche and Guillaume Canet lead the cast in Olivier Assayas’ wryly comic look at the quandaries of the publishing world.

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TrapsTraps

Comedy1998116 minsDirector: Věra Chytilová

Věra Chytilová's dark, post-communist comedy. After a veterinary surgeon is sexually assaulted by two men, she uses her particular expertise in castraton to exact her revenge…

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The CrematorThe Cremator

Comedy196896 minsDirector: Juraj Herz

This story of a professional cremator whose increasingly deranged impulses are given free reign during Prague's Nazi occupation, is a brilliantly chilling mix of Dr Strangelove and Repulsion.

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Love & FriendshipLove & Friendship

Comedy201693 minsDirector: Whit Stillman

Whit Stillman crosses the Atlantic for this irresistible Jane Austen adaptation, following the delicious and devious exploits of Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsale).

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UndergroundUnderground

Comedy1995170 minsDirector: Emir Kusturica

Set against the backdrop of 50 turbulent years of Yugoslavian history, this deeply moving and masterful tragic-farce from director Emir Kusturica earned him his second Palme d'Or.

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Smiles of a Summer NightSmiles of a Summer Night

Comedy1955109 minsDirector: Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman’s Cannes prize-winning comedy assembles various couples in a country house in 1900.

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Black JoyBlack Joy

Comedy197799 minsDirector: Anthony Simmons

Ben, an innocent immigrant from a remote village in Guyana, arrives in Brixton and falls prey to an assortment of streetwise characters in Anthony Simmons' Palme d’Or nominated comic drama.

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Yesterday, Today and TomorrowYesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Comedy1963118 minsDirector: Vittorio De Sica

Irrepressible Vittorio De Sica (Bicycle Thieves) directs this Oscar-winning film of three comic tales of love and sex in three cities.

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Sherlock Jr.Sherlock Jr.

Comedy192445 minsDirector: Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton's superb, sophisticated silent comedy in which he dreams himself into the movie he's watching, in order to win back his girl.

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Ghost WorldGhost World

Comedy2001107 minsDirector: Terry Zwigoff

Scarlett Johansson and Thora Birch star as a pair of social outcasts struggling to make sense of the world around them, in this sublime love story based on the work of underground artist Daniel Clowes.

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Letter to BrezhnevLetter to Brezhnev

Comedy198594 minsDirector: Chris Bernard

A defining Merseyside film, in which two Liverpool lasses hook up with a pair of Russian sailors only to wonder if they might be better off behind the Iron Curtain.

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Equinox FlowerEquinox Flower

Comedy1958118 minsDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

Ozu's deft comedy takes an ironic look at the decline of paternal authority.

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Good MorningGood Morning

Comedy195994 minsDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

Yasujiro Ozu's cheerful comedy about the silliness of everyday chatter.

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