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.
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.
Comedy201895 minsDirector: Jason Wingard
In search of his estranged father, Omar sets off to Blackpool with half-brother Pete in this heartwarming multicultural road trip comedy starring BAFTA-nominated actor Asim Chaudhry (People Just Do Nothing).
Comedy2022112 minsDirector: Peter Strickland
This darkly comic tale from Peter Strickland and recipient of seven BIFA nominations, is a fantastic feast for the senses, starring Asa Butterfield and Gwendoline Christie.
Comedy202179 minsDirector: Nana Mensah
In Nana Mensah’s self-assured and charming comedy, a Ghanaian-American woman’s life is thrown into disarray when she inherits her mother’s Christian bookshop.
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.
Comedy202294 minsDirector: Andrew Gaynord
A deliciously dark comedy about social paranoia that will have you joyfully squirming in your seat.
Comedy2021106 minsDirector: Radu Jude
Berlin Golden Bear winner, Radu Jude’s scathing satire finds schoolteacher Emi threatened with dismissal when a private sex tape goes viral.
Comedy192679 minsSilentDirector: Buster Keaton and Clyde Bruckman
Buster Keaton's masterpiece is widely and rightly regarded as one of the greatest comedies ever made.
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
Comedy199495 minsDirector: David O. Russell
David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) made his feature debut in 1994 with this biting black comedy, which caused a stir with its incestuous subplot and portrayal of adolescent restlessness.
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.
Comedy196497 minsDirector: Vittorio De Sica
Sophia Loren and Marcelo Mastroianni are irrepressible as a long-married couple in this exquisite and timeless comedy of our all-too-human foibles.
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.
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.
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.
Drama201890 minsDirector: Andrew Bujalski
Andrew Bujalski serves up a big-hearted comedy with his day-in-the-life look at Double Whammies – a Hooters-style bar and its tight-knit, all-female staff.
Comedy1955109 minsDirector: Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman’s Cannes prize-winning comedy assembles various couples in a country house in 1900.
Fantasy1965183 minsDirector: Wojciech Jerzy Has
During the Napoleonic wars, a soldier discovers a strange manuscript that reveals endless stories-within-stories. Wojciech Has' opus is a major cult film of the 60s, revered by Luis Buñuel, David Lynch and Jerry Garcia.
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.
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…
Anthology1962204 minsDirector: Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti and 2 more
Four of the greatest Italian directors – Fellini, Visconti, De Sica and Monicelli – join forces with show-stoppers Sophia Loren, Anita Ekberg and Romy Schneider in a carousel of sex and satire mocking the mores of Italian '60s society.
Drama2014105 minsDirector: Joanna Hogg
Joanna Hogg's sleek and minimalist comedy about a pair of artists and their emotional attachment to their ultra-modernist apartment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Comedy192871 minsDirector: Charles F. Riesner
Waterway hi jinks abound in this Buster Keaton classic, in which he plays the reluctant heir to his father's paddle steamer business.
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.
Comedy1983111 minsDirector: François Truffaut
A man suspected of a crime enlists a woman to prove his innocence in Truffaut’s Hitchcockian inspired serio-comic romantic thriller.
Comedy201995 minsDirector: Toby MacDonald
Charmingly idiosyncratic comedy reworking of Cyrano de Bergerac, with Alex Lawther as a boarder who helps the school hero woo a French teacher's daughter despite being besotted with her himself.
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.
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.
Comedy1981100 minsDirector: Eric Rohmer
Eric Rohmer's pleasingly precise portrait of obstinately perverse longing, with Béatrice Romand as the student determined to marry an uninterested lawyer.
Comedy202180 minsDirector: Reggie Yates
Set in London at the turn of the millennium, Reggie Yates’ hilarious debut feature takes us on a journey back to New Year's Eve 1999, reviving memories from the 90's garage scene and Moschino fashion for pure nostalgic cinematic joy.
Comedy201897 minsDirector: Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt
Diamantino, Portugal’s (the world’s!) top football player, becomes embroiled in a genetic experiment and a conspiracy to leave the EU, in this joyful, postmodern political fantasy.
Comedy2017151 minsDirector: Ruben Östlund
From director Ruben Östlund (Force Majeure) comes a satire on the hypocrisy of the art world, starring Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West. Winner of the Palme d'Or.
Drama201996 minsDirector: Tim Mielants
Life on the nudist colony is fairly routine for handyman Patrick (Kevin Janssens), that is until the mystery of his missing hammer sets in motion a quest of self-discovery.
Comedy2019102 minsDirector: Elia Suleiman
Acclaimed Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman returns with another deadpan take on life in exile that is typically assured and moving.
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.
Drama201186 minsDirector: Todd Solondz
Todd Solondz directs Selma Blair and Jordan Gelber in this delightfully dark satire as romance blooms between a toy collector and a depressed woman.