As the Minnesota Film Arts attempts to warm the cockles of our hearts for the holidays with its annual screening of Ronia, the Robber's Daughter, the real news is that it will more than likely be the last film screened at the Oak Street Cinema. As announced in an e-mail newsletter that went out to MFA members on Friday as well as an article in the Star Tribune, MFA is moving to St Anthony Main. They have relocated their offices to 125 SE Main Street (right next to the Theater) in anticipation that they will program at least one screen in the theater starting mid-January. No word on programming specifics at this point, but in the Star Tribune piece MFA board member Tim Grady implied that they intend on filling the gaps of first run features that don't get picked up by Landmark.
I, for one, sincerely hope that is the case. As much as I love repertory cinema, it is a crime how many high profile, mostly international, first run films never make it to the Twin Cities. If you need examples, two films that are sure to top many end of the year lists (including my own) that never had a chance in the Twin Cities were 35 Shots of Rum and The Headless Woman.(Coincidentally both female directors...?) In my very humble movie going opinion, this is the one area where our fair city truly lacks. Although the Walker fills in many of the important gaps, other than Landmark, no one else consistently covers the arthouse/international/independent film scene.
Ticket pricing and convenient parking at St Anthony Main Theater will apply to all shows and MFA members will still enjoy $5 ticket prices across the board. Until then, close out the year with Ronia and say goodbye to the Oak. Although no one is saying demolition in so many words, if you drive by (Lotus closed? Tsunami close?), it doesn't look good.