Minding the Gap


Sunday, Nov. 4 at 7:30pm
Washington U./Brown

“Minding the Gap” offers a multifaceted group portrait of filmmaker Bing Liu and two friends, Keire Johnson and Zack Mulligan, from his youth in Rockford, Ill. Although the documentary initially appears to focus on their shared passion for skateboarding — Bing’s first films were skate videos — “Minding the Gap” soon moves in other, more compelling directions, though its periodic skateboard sequences remain consistently exhilarating. Among the issues the documentary adroitly explores are the diminished nature of the former industrial town of Rockford and the effect of that decay on its young residents; the influence of the subjects’ fathers and stepfathers on the direction of their lives; the pernicious legacy of domestic violence; and the nature of black identity. From this dauntingly complex weave of thematic threads, Bing creates a seamless tapestry. The New York Times writes: “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 21st-century America.”