Just when we thought 2023 had given us all the best films for the year (Barbie, Oppenheimer, Eras, Bad Behaviour), along came Poor Things. On Thursday night Ensemble had the privilege of hosting the exclusive New Zealand premiere of the dark comedy fantasy film by Yorgos Lanthimos at the Hollywood Avondale, ahead of its wider release in cinemas on January 1.
As soon as we saw the trailer for the award-winning film starring Emma Stone as "a horny Frankenwoman on a wild coming-of-age journey”, we were intrigued, and confident that our Ensemble crowd would appreciate its creative and unorthodox storytelling. But nothing could prepare us for the twisted and hilariously bawdy masterpiece we were about to witness.
The evening was also a great excuse to gather our dearest Ensemble friends – including some of our favourite creatives in Tāmaki Makaurau – to catch up before the summer break. Among them, designers Rachel Mills, Deanna Didovich of Ruby, Kate Megaw of Penny Sage, Ingrid Starnes, Catherine Boddy and Heather Brennan Evans, artist Simon Lewis Ward, musicians D.C. Maxwell, Heidi Simpson and Judah Kelly, actor and comedian Joanna Cosgrove and writer Samuel Te Kani of podcast Rats In The Gutter, illustrator Evie Kemp, model and writer Kaarina Parker, actors Awa Puna, Danielle Cormack, Claire Chitham, Perlina Lau and Michelle Ang, director Roseanne Liang, writer Saraid de Silva and internet sensation Jack Baker McNamara.
Guests grazed on Greek mezze platters and sipped Pals and The Ouzito cocktail (a Greek Ouzo Mojito) while DJ Jess Fu played groovy tunes in the candlelit courtyard lined with dairy flowers (an Ensemble event signature) and posed with our giant purple bow (another signature) that hung on the Hollywood’s red velvet curtains.
At 8pm, the wild adventure started on screen. Emma Stone’s quirky, brutally honest comedy as Bella Baxter (and Mark Ruffalo’s outbursts) had the audience hooting with laughter, while the more gory Frankenstein scenes elicited shrieks of horror. It was the kind of film that left your mind reeling well after it was over, processing all the bizarre details on the car ride home with friends and lying awake in bed for hours.
Photographer Abigail Dell’Avo captured some of the colourful guests before the cinematic madness began.