Minneapolis’ One-Screen Wonder

The Trylon Microcinema

The Trylon Microcinema sits among a stretch of odd, miscellaneous businesses on Minnehaha Avenue in south Minneapolis, but it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. A small front window and an illuminated sign are its only markers, in stark contrast with large chain theaters which generally, unlike the Trylon, have more than one screen.

The Trylon was dreamt up by Barry Kryshka and a few others who were involved with the Oak Street Cinema after it closed. Wanting to keep up the unusual selection of movies without having to pull in over 100 patrons each week to break even in a traditional-sized theater, Kryshka built a suitably sized venue himself.

“There were no commercials or Hollywood previews, simply notices about upcoming films and an old John Waters anti-smoking PSA.”

The Trylon is located in a former warehouse space and with 50 seats—it’s comfortable without being claustrophobic. The screen, though smaller than that of a standard movie theater, is plenty large for the intimate space. Movie posters from the current showings line the entryway and a small counter doubles as a ticket counter and concessions area.

Titles playing at the Trylon vary from cult classics to obscure films that are not available on DVD and are difficult to find elsewhere. The theater has a pair of 35mm projectors to show movies from physical reels of film in addition to the digital projection that a majority of today’s standard movie theaters rely on entirely.

I went to a recent showing of The Visitor, an Italian/American psychological thriller from the ‘70s. There were no commercials or Hollywood previews, simply notices about upcoming films and an old John Waters anti-smoking PSA. There couldn’t have been more than 10 people in there, but the theater size made the atmosphere cozy and friendly instead of empty and sparse.

The Trylon presents classic films on the weekends and offers a number of film series during the week. Currently, the Trylon is showing a series of Nicholas Rays films, an Alfred Hitchcock festival, a series of films about music, Trash Film Wednesdays, and a monthly night called The Defenders where a local personality chooses a film to screen and defends their choice.

I am particularly excited to go back and see The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover on April 23, part of the Trash Film Wednesday series. However, it would be hard to go wrong when picking a showing, as the entire lineup of upcoming films looks promising and the experience of going to a movie at the distinctive little theater is as much a novelty as the actual films themselves.