On Sunday night, while you were a few regrets deep into your personal Academy Awards’ ballot, Zinema 2’s director of programming was already wheeling and dealing with the keepers of what would become the big winner.
Matthew Dressel first emailed the distributor for “Parasite” around the time Bong Joon-ho won the Oscar for best director. By night’s end — and three more awards later for the director of the South Korean dark comedy-horror hybrid — Dressel had secured another run of the movie at the theater.
“Parasite” opens — again — Friday at Zinema 2 and is also currently playing at Duluth 10.
It’s a natural fit for the downtown two-screen space that originally showed the movie for about a month in late 2019.
“It’s truly an original story, and I think people gravitate toward those,” Dressel said.
“Parasite,” which was also the pick for best screenplay and best international feature film, is among the handful of Academy Award winners still available locally for big screen viewing. For viewers looking for hard-hitters like “Joker” or “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” most movies are, at this point, available for purchase — whether online or at Redbox.
At Zinema 2, where “Bombshell” is still playing (best makeup and hairstyling), Dressel is sticking staying on-theme and bringing “Little Women” back to the theater on Feb. 21. It’s still in Marcus theaters, but has been a hit with independent theater-goers — some who saw it repeatedly.
“We haven’t had a movie like that since ‘Downton Abbey,’” he said of Greta Gerwig’s adaptation.
What else is out there?
The Academy Award favorite that fell short is still on the marquee at West Theatre, the 6-month-old rehabilitated theater and events space used in West Duluth.
“‘1917’ had good odds (to win), and we were hosting (an awards screening party),” said Bob Boone, owner and operator. On Sunday night, he threw a collaborative party with Zinema 2 in his space.
For his single-screen, 200-plus-seat theater, he wants a mix of genres and ratings — something, eventually, for everyone. While “1917” didn’t fulfill best picture predictions, the cleverly-filmed war movie won for cinematography and sound mixing. It plays at West Theatre through Feb. 20. Next up, he's looking ahead to “Call of the Wild.”
Meanwhile, on the internet
Among the easiest films to find and stream, and sometimes snag for free from the comfort of your papasan chair: shorts, docs, short-docs.
“Hair Love,” which won for best animated short film, is a sweetly told story of an African American dad who learns to style his young daughter’s hair. It’s light on words, playfully drawn, but big on emotion — and streaming on YouTube.
Also free and available to anyone, though there is nudity: “The Neighbors' Window” (best live-action short) is a 20-minute tale of accidental voyeurs. Marshall Curry, an oft-nominated filmmaker, directed this tale of a married and heavily-kidded couple that is distracted by the sexual shenanigans in the curtain-less apartment across the way. All that good cheer is bringing the comparatively less sexy couple down.
For Netflix users, two of the winners were created specifically for the distribution service. “Marriage Story” is a divorce story, with a nod to its 1970-80s predecessors. Laura Dern, as Nora the nail-tough attorney with an oozy off-duty side, won for best supporting actress. “American Factory,” the first film by Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground Productions, is about a Chinese factory located in a former GM plant in Ohio. It won for best feature-length documentary.
Subscribers to Hulu Live TV have access to the award-winning short doc “Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone (If You’re a Girl),” the story of young kids in Kabul who attend a school with a skate park run by Skateistan, a charitable organization.
Now, about ‘Parasite’
For Dressel, a win for “Parasite” is a win for the theater. He said he had been in contact with the distributor for a year before he finally played it for three or four weeks this past fall.
“I feel a sense of accomplishment,” he said. “I was able to find something, and now it’s being celebrated, and that’s cool.”
The movie fared well with Zinema 2 audiences — especially considering it wasn’t backed by a mega marketing campaign. It was mysterious, hard to explain to people, and then developed buzz.
Director Bong Joon-ho also cut a version of “Parasite” in black and white — and Dressel will be offering screenings of it, alongside the standard in-color version, on Sunday, Feb. 16.
The director told Hollywood Reporter that, with the color removed, viewers get a stronger sense of the contrast between the two families.
“We can focus more on the textures,” he said.
“Parasite”: Best picture, best international feature, best director, best screenplay. Currently playing at Duluth 10 and opens Friday at Zinema 2.
“1917”: Best cinematography, best sound mixing for Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson. Currently playing at Duluth Cinema, Lakes Cinema, West Theatre.
“Little Women”: Best costume design. Currently playing at Duluth Cinema; returns to Zinema 2 Feb. 21.
“Bombshell”: Best makeup/hairstyling. Currently playing at Zinema 2.