Rediscovering the Magic of Norm Burns

Saturday, October 1, 2022, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM  |  view details and directions

Rediscovering the Magic of Norm Burns

Reflecting on Reeling’s roots in the 1980s on the occasion of our 40th anniversary, we proudly reintroduce to Chicago audiences the recently rediscovered films of Chicago queer experimental filmmaker Norm Bruns. Brun’s work was first shown publicly at Chicago Filmmakers at an open screening in 1980, he was given a one-person show in 1981, and then a retrospective at the Chicago Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (later named Reeling) in 1989, the year before his death of AIDS. Working with a home movie camera he bought at a garage sale and with no film training nor familiarity with the artists to whom film critics would later compare him, Bruns created a unique and personal body of work in less than a year––work that is astonishing, bold, and other-worldly. With a decidedly queer sensibility infused with subtle homoeroticism, his films have been compared to those of Jean Cocteau and George Méliès for their dreamlike fantastical qualities. Largely shot in grainy black-and-white, the films are whimsical, featuring elaborate hand-made set pieces and costumes. After remaining unseen for more than 30 years since his death, Bruns’ films have been recently located, and the magic of his vision can once again light up the screen. The program will feature ten of Bruns’ films from 1980-1981. Special thanks to Josh Mabe for tracking down Norm’s family and Norm’s family for the safekeeping of his films.

THEATRE OF THE HORSE AND MOON (c.1980-81, 13 Mins, silent)

SWIM (c.1980-81, 7 Mins)

BED DESERT (c.1980-81, 5 Mins, silent)

FIGURE WITH 14 TRAINS (c.1980-81, 7 Mins)

BINGO (c.1980-81, 6 Mins, silent)

BLUE AURA (c.1980-81, 4 Mins)

DUCK (c.1980-81, 3 Mins, silent)

THE POET AND THE POND (c.1980-81, 6 Mins)

SCREEN TEST (c.1980-81, 3 Mins, silent)

THE UNUSUAL BOOK (c.1980-81, 10 Mins)

Getting there

2828 N Clark, Chicago, IL