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.
Comedy201987 minsDirector: Sasie Sealy
A crafty Coen-esque black comedy about an elderly widow who inadvertently steals from the Chinese mob and subsequently takes on the gangs to secure her fortune.
Drama200796 minsDirector: Joanna Hogg
On a Tuscan break a fortysomething woman finds herself drawn to the company of a group of partying teens, including a young Tom Hiddleston (in one of his earliest roles).
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.
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.
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.
Comedy2011109 minsDirector: Yuya Ishii
An eccentric, pregnant young lady returns to her hometown to help her downtrodden old neighbours, in Yûya Ishii 's strange, whimsical comedy.
Comedy1990100 minsDirector: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Jeunet and Caro's endlessly inventive and wildly enjoyable post-apocalyptic black comedy, about a sinister butcher and the circus clown who becomes his nemesis.
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
Comedy2010112 minsDirector: Yuya Ishii
Sawako tries to save her father's ailing clam-packing business, but it's an uphill struggle, in Yuya Ishii's joyous, nuanced, comic drama.
Musical2012134 minsDirector: Takashi Miike
Takashi Miike's awesome riff on Romeo and Juliet, done as a pop musical stuffed with golden oldies from the 60s.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Drama2014109 minsDirector: Alex Ross Perry
Jason Schwartzman is a hotshot writer with pathological intimacy problems in this caustic comedy of over-achievement.
Comedy200694 minsDirector: Matt Bissonnette
Lukas Haas and Adam Scott play two old friends with a tempestuous history in this delightfully witty character comedy.
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.
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.
Drama196571 minsDirector: Ivan Passer
This wonderfully subtle comedy of provincial life is the debut film of the great director Ivan Passer (Cutter's Way) and one of the signature works of the Czech New Wave.
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.
Period drama201492 minsDirector: Jessica Hausner
Jessica Hausner’s long-awaited follow-up to Lourdes is a devilish anti-Rom-Com in which German poet seeks mates for a suicide pact.
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.
Comedy1955109 minsDirector: Ingmar Bergman
Ingmar Bergman’s Cannes prize-winning comedy assembles various couples in a country house in 1900.
Drama1939102 minsDirector: Jean Renoir
Renoir's depiction of an intransigent society teetering towards disaster was derided upon release and only later acclaimed as one of cinema’s most vital films.
Comedy195284 minsDirector: Roberto Rossellini
Roberto Rossellini's film about a photographer who is given the power to rid the Earth of 'evil-doers'.
Comedy197990 minsDirector: Bill Forsyth
Before Gregory's Girl, Bill Forsyth mate this equally hilarious caper about a group of unemployed teenagers who hatch a plan to steal a job lot of stainless steel sinks.
Comedy196992 minsDirector: Brian De Palma
Robert De Niro stars in the early, indie comedy from Brian De Palma, co-directed by Wilford Leach and Cynthia Munroe.
Comedy2011128 minsDirector: Shûichi Okita
A redneck lumberjack is recruited to work on a rookie producer's inane zombie movie, in this hilarious movie-making satire.
Comedy201486 minsDirector: Taika Waititi
An achingly funny mockumentary about New Zealand’s hitherto unknown vampire (and werewolf) communities, from the creators of Flight of the Conchords.