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Emile Norman: By His Own Design
Emile Norman By His Own Design
Actor: Emile Norman
Director: Will Parrinello
Genres: Special Interests, Television, Documentary
UR     2008     1hr 0min

This is a portrait of the artist Emile Norman, who, at age 88, is still working with the same passion that inspired him through seven decades of a changing art scene and turbulent times for a gay man in America. The film c...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Emile Norman
Director: Will Parrinello
Genres: Special Interests, Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Special Interests, Television, Biography, Gay & Lesbian
Studio: Pbs (Direct)
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 06/24/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Inspirational, informative, moving.
Lily Winter | Beautiful Northwoods | 12/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Emile Norman attended art school for one day. His teacher told him he did his assignment wrong, and Emile quit. Together with his partner Brooks Clemens, he went on to sculpt, create glass and wood mosaics and build and live in the mountains of Big Sur.

This film is a touchstone for those who swim against the tide. Beginning in the 1940's, it follows Emile Norman through the art world, film sets and galleries of California, New York City and back to Big Sur and Carmel. From mosaic zebras to marble statues to the 40 foot marble glass window on the Masonic Temple in San Francisco, Norman not only followed his own artistic visions, he invented many of his own tools, techniques and materials.

But a summary can't describe this film or this artist, or how much this film means to me as an artist attempting to create my own style and survive in realistic economic times. I treasure my copy of this film and wish all people would see it."
Klaus Hilbert | 10/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

A Portrait of the Artist
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 01/15/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)


"Emile Norman: By His Own Design"

Portrait of the Artist

Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride

Many of you may not know who Emile Norman is and quite frankly neither did I until I saw âaeEmile Norman: By His Own Designâ. He is well known in the Bay Area of California and it seems that his art is more famous than he is. After seeing this film is not likely that I will ever forget this manâ"he is an icon. It is the goal of filmmaker Will Parrinello and producers Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker that the name Emile Norman be recognized fro here on out.
Emile Norman is now 88 years old and he lives in Big Sur. He has worked in many media of art but for the last 30 years, he seems to have concerned himself with creating animal sculpture from wood inlay. You might think, from what I have written so far, that this is a film about art and it is but it is also a love story---it looks at the 30 year relationship between the artist and his late partner, Brooks Clement as well as the artistâ(tm)s spirit and will and his ability to inspire others.
To Norman, creating art is a way of life and he feels that it is a calling and this calling is shown beautifully in this film which came about after Tucker and Eikenberry bought land from him in 1991.. They felt the world should know about the artist but Norman felt it was the art and not the man that held importance.
The director had never heard of Norman but Tucker and Eikenberry told him much that he needed to know and Parrinello found a man who had the dedication to create art from a young age. He was also a frontrunner of the gay community and lived an openly gay life before it was considered to be acceptable in any way. He found success in New York but then left the art scene. Norman says he has never worked a day in his life yet spends everyday in his studio. Some of those who know his work look at him as an American Picasso. His artwork has greatness in that it we see our lives in it and the freshness of it awakens us. He sensuousness of it is breathtaking and we all should become more acquainted with it.
Norman is dedicated to his personal visionâ"one that often was not the same as the times in which it was created. He buffered all and made his own way and created art that is as relevant today as it was when it was created. He never stops working and after seeing this beautiful and dynamic film I am sure that I will never forget Emile Norman. The man is exciting, his art is wonderful and the love story that underlies the film is something of rare beauty. With Clement, he built a home of love and is also a work of art, itself. He also built a life with another man at a time when a relationship of this kindâ"two menâ"was extremely difficult. There are surely other hidden gay people in our history and it is time we found out about them. Hopefully this movie is a step in that direction."