open air at Ashton Court
On Friday, September 20, Luna Cinema teamed up with Ashton Court Estate to offer an unforgettable outdoor cinema experience; an evening of classic nostalgia underneath the stars with the heart-warming 90s Rom-Com, Pretty Woman.
There’s not a person I know who hasn’t (at least 10 times) watched Pretty Woman. It famously begins when millionaire Edward Lewis pulls up in his Lotus Esprit next to a very leggy, blond-wigged ‘Vivian’ and not-so-innocently asks for directions to the Beverly Wiltshire Hotel.
And while we know the ins and outs of every scene that follows, from iconic Rodeo Drive shopping montages to a tear-jerking night at the opera, there was something about the retro setting offered by Luna Cinemas that made the whole film feel fresh again – as though myself and a date were snuggling under a blanket and watching it for the very first time.
Before the film began, I was wondering if watching it again through a contemporary #MeToo lens might change the way I feel about it. After all, a white handsome millionaire ‘purchasing’ a woman for a week before promising her an apartment of her own (and infinite shopping) does have a whiff of Weinstein about it.
Thankfully, Luna Cinema provided such a warming, vintage setting (not even overlooking the popcorn stand) that we were able to ignore all that modern feminist nonsense and enjoy Pretty Women for what it was intended to be: A Hollywood fairy tale.
And the vastly diverse audience seemed to agree with me. Laid comfortably in the beautiful open grounds of Ashton Court, we were surrounded by a sea of picnic blankets, pop-up chairs and plastic prosecco glasses (not to mention the occasional blow-up bed). Behind the enormous cinema screen was the grand Ashton Court Estate, offering an interesting backdrop to a half-naked Julia Roberts,and Bristol’s cityscape surrounded us as the sun set overhead.
Romantic? Just a bit!
While the feature film changes with each location Luna visits - the list currently includes Mary Poppins, Harry Potter and Bohemian Rhapsody, see preview below, it’s evident that no matter which movie you choose to snuggle down in front of, Lunar will give you the optimal outdoor cinema experience.
Sitting pretty in park cinema
The UK's leading open-air cinema is coming to a park near us this autumn.
Established as a summer staple, The Luna Cinema is back with a line up of incredible box office blockbusters in many of the country’s most iconic venues
Three films are booked to show at Ashton Court from Friday to Sunday, September 20-22, and this is the programme:
Friday, September 20, Pretty Woman (1990) 15
Saturday, September 21, Mary Poppins Returns (2018) U
Sunday, September 22, Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) 12A
From May to September, film-lovers up and down the country can pick from more than 175 outdoor screenings in some of the UK’s most prestigious and historically important sites.
Luna audiences get to enjoy films set to the backdrop of the stunning grounds of places such as Warwick Castle, Kensington Palace, Chatsworth House, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Hampton Court Palace, Leeds Castle, Westminster Abbey and Cardiff Castle.
New sites for 2019 include the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, Thorpe Park in Surrey, Wrest Park in Bedfordshire, Anglesey Abbey near Cambridge, Marble Hill in London and Castle Howard in Yorkshire to name a few.
And of course the Grade I Ashton Court Mansion which has been the site of a manor house since the 11th century and from the 16-20th centuries home of the Smyth family is now in the line-up..
It was used as a military hospital in the World War 1 and an army transit camp in World War 2.
In 1946 the last of the Smyth family died and the house fell into disrepair before its purchase in 1959 by Bristol City Council.
The estate is now home to a deer park, Bristol International Kite Festival and the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta.
Cinema-lovers will be thrilled by a fantastic choice of films this summer season, with a selection of the year’s biggest hitters and award winners, including the iconic performance from the multi-award winning Bohemian Rhapsody, featuring an Oscar-winning performance from Rami Malek.
Heart-trob Richard Gere stars alongside Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and Mary Poppins Returns with Emily Blunt taking over the title role from Julie Andrew.
Luna Cinema found George Wood said: “We are hugely excited to be announcing our 2019 season, our biggest year of open-air cinema yet.
"With the incredible number of great films released in the past 12 months, it’s shaping up to be a really special one."
As always, The Luna Cinema audiences are welcome to bring along picnics to screenings.
However, all events will have fantastic hot food for sale and a full bar on site, in partnership with headline bar sponsors, Estrella Damm.
Premium tickets are available at all screenings, which include a branded director’s chair in prime position in the arena, fast track access and a complimentary drink at the Luna Bar.
To book tickets £15-£17.50 adults and £9.50-£13.50 for children and for more information visit www.thelunacinema.com.