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Comedy Genius

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 genius 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 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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PatrickPatrick

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.

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PrevengePrevenge

Comedy201688 minsDirector: Alice Lowe

Alice Lowe directs and stars in this riotous tale of a pregnant serial killer, hellbent on revenge.

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Listen Up PhilipListen Up Philip

Drama2014109 minsDirector: Alex Ross Perry

Jason Schwartzman is a hotshot writer with pathological intimacy problems in this caustic comedy of over-achievement.

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Bad Luck Banging or Loony PornBad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

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.

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Dark HorseDark Horse

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.

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SocietySociety

Horror198999 minsDirector: Brian Yuzna

A teenager uncovers an elite ritualistic society in Brian Yuzna's stomach-churning mix of body-horror and social commentary.

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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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Spanking the MonkeySpanking the Monkey

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.

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Marriage Italian StyleMarriage Italian Style

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.

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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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Boccaccio '70Boccaccio '70

Anthology1962204 minsDirector: Federico Fellini

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.

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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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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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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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The Machine that Kills Bad PeopleThe Machine that Kills Bad People

Comedy195284 minsDirector: Roberto Rossellini

Roberto Rossellini's film about a photographer who is given the power to rid the Earth of 'evil-doers'.

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ExhibitionExhibition

Drama2013105 minsDirector: Joanna Hogg

Joanna Hogg's sleek and minimalist comedy about a pair of artists and their emotional attachment to their ultra-modernist apartment.

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Support the GirlsSupport the Girls

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.

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Gone Too Far!Gone Too Far!

Comedy201388 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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I Was Born, But...I Was Born, But...

Comedy193287 minsSilentDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

Ozu's silent masterpiece follows two brothers as they try to outwit the local bully.

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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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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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The GeneralThe General

Comedy192679 minsSilentDirector: Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton's masterpiece is widely and rightly regarded as one of the greatest comedies ever made.

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Steamboat Bill, Jr.Steamboat Bill, Jr.

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.

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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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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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The Saragossa ManuscriptThe Saragossa Manuscript

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.

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