Maxine Peake gives a formidable performance as an aspiring female comedian standing up to a violent husband and the sexist Northern England club circuit. If you think that modern comedy is still lacking in gender equality, then this tough, streetwise British film shows that it’s also made giant strides since the in-your-face chauvinism of working men’s clubs in decades past. And yet, ill-treatment by men is something our eponymous heroine is grimly used to, from childhood beatings to an abusive husband (scriptwriter Tony Pitts, on terrifying form).
More a film about the power of laughter and how to transform pain into humour than a straight-up comedy, Funny Cow is a fitting showcase for Peake. So often dazzling on stage and television, she’s hilarious and heart-breaking here. There’s fine support too from cast-against-type Paddy Considine as her middle-class paramour and a swooning, melancholic soundtrack by Richard Hawley.
Drama 2016 88 mins Director: John Carroll Lynch
Harry Dean Stanton gives the performance of a lifetime as an irascible nonagenarian maverick in a New Mexican town, grappling with his mortality.
The Marvellous Mabel Normand: The Leading Lady of Film Comedy
Comedy 2018 78 mins Director: Mabel Normand
Discover early Hollywood's irrepressible comic pioneer, showcased in this delightful package of short films in which she appears alongside fellow greats Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle and Oliver Hardy.
Anchor and Hope
Comedy 2018 113 mins Director: Carlos Marques-Marcet
Sweetly swaying houseboat comedy about a couple whose river-bound existence is upended by the arrival of an old friend.
An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn
Comedy 2017 108 mins Director: Jim Hosking
Lulu Danger's (Aubrey Plaza) unsatisfying marriage takes a turn for the worse when a former lover comes to town in this strange and surreal comedy.
Swimming with Men
Comedy 2018 97 mins Director: Oliver Parker
Rob Brydon leads a motley crew who pool their resources as part of a synchronised swimming team, in this buoyant feelgood comedy.
Scene Nun, Take One
Comedy 1964 26 mins Director: Maurice Hatton
Susannah York plays a mischievously wayward actress mistaken for a nun in this comedy short shot in Swinging 60s London
Drama 2010 124 mins Director: Mike Leigh
Mike Leigh's drama about contented couple (Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen) who play host to various friends, each struggling to find happiness.
Action and Adventure 2013 109 mins Director: Wong Kar-wai
Wong Kar-Wai’s lavish martial arts biopic tells the story of Ip Man, the legendary trainer who became Bruce Lee’s mentor.
Drama 2014 197 mins Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Modern master filmmaker Nuri Bilge Celyan’s Palme d’Or winner: an extraordinary, epic drama.
Drama 2014 138 mins Director: Xavier Dolan-Tadros
With stylish and charged intensity, Xavier Dolan charts the fractious relationship between an uncontrollable teen and his fun-loving mother.
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films
Documentary 2014 106 mins Director: Mark Hartley
A documentary love letter to the golden of exploitation cinema and the output of Cannon Films, the cut-price studio that challenged Hollywood.
Featuring Maxine Peake
Featuring Paddy Considine
Drama 2016 92 mins Director: Paddy Considine
Paddy Considine directs and stars with Jodie Whittaker in this emotional knockout - the story of a boxer rebuilding his life after a near-fatal injury.
Drama 2015 113 mins Director: Justin Kurzel
Fassbender is ferocious as the Scottish king in Justin Kurzel’s red-blooded and viscerally atmospheric Shakespeare adaptation.
Comedy 2010 97 mins Director: Richard Ayoade
Richard Ayoade’s sweet and quirky directorial debut about a Swansea teen’s travails with his distant girlfriend and warring parents.
Comedy 2014 120 mins Director: Matthew Warchus
The smash culture-clash comedy tells the incredible true story of how miners and a Gay Pride support group come together to fight a common cause.
Documentary 2018 96 mins Director: Steve Loveridge
Fascinating delve into the career, personality and politics of award-winning musician M.I.A.
Postcards from London
Drama 2017 89 mins Director: Steve McLean
A stylish, sexy film about a young man’s journey into an unusual form of escort work.
Drama 2017 100 mins Director: Tupaq Felber
Four thirtysomethings find some much-needed time to reconnect in this beautifully observed and subtly insightful debut.
The Special World of Nigel Hunt
1967 27 mins Director: Ian Mcfarlane
An edition of This Week reporting on the restricted lives of young people with Down’s syndrome living in homes away from their families.
The Wild Pear Tree
Drama 2018 189 mins Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s follow-up to his Palme d’Or-winning Winter Sleep is a persuasive portrait of a young writer at odds with his hometown and family.
Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda
Documentary 2017 101 mins Director: Stephen Schible
A graceful, intimate study of a the legendary Japanese musician, composer, actor, writer and activist.