Minding the Gap
Documentary | In English | 93 minutes | 2018
Rockford, Illinois, a midwestern rust-belt city, is the home of astonishing first-time filmmaker Bing Liu. Over a 12-year period he filmed two of his skateboarding friends, Zack and Keire, as they grappled with their volatile upbringing in a tough, high-crime neighborhood. Mr. Liu captures Zack’s tumultuous relationship with his girlfriend after the birth of their son and Keire’s struggle with racial issues and torment after the death of his father. Mr. Liu weaves a film centered on the acts of forgiveness and the precarious changes of his two friends as they move from childhood to adulthood.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus) 100% 100%
- Metacritic Score 93% 93%
Sundance Film Festival: Won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking.
Academy Awards: Nominated, Best Documentary Feature.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama considered it his favorite film in 2018.
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A pleasure of MINDING the GAP is to observe how skating and filmmaking flow together. As the young men get stronger, bolder and more dexterous, Mr.Liu’s camera skills keep pace, and he captures the sense of risk, freedom and creativity that makes their pastime more than just a hobby. With infinite sensitivity, Mr. Liu delves into some of the most painful and intimate details of his friends’ lives and his own, and then layers his observations into a rich, devastating essay on race, class and manhood in 20th-century America. This is, in every way, a gift, and by the end of MINDING the GAP there is some evidence that it changed the lives of nearly everyone who participated in it. It can have that effect on viewers as well.
The focus of the film’s marketing is the skateboarding, but while that footage (both archival and recent) is elegantly shot and cut, it forms a small portion of the running time. Most of MINDING the GAP is about the struggle to move out into the world as an adult and become a decent, functioning human being despite a lack of economic opportunities and (maybe more important) a poisonous cultural upbringing that teaches young straight men to hold emotions in, laugh off pain, and express frustration through anger and violence.
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