Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:24 pm 
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Filming best mates: skateboarding and open heart conversations


Three guys growing up in the failing blue collar town of Rockford, Illinois are Bing Liu, Asian, who is the filmmaker, following for five years himself and his two best friends, fellow skateboarders Zack, who's white, and Kiere, who's black. All seem to have had abusive fathers, and find in each other and skateboarding family that was lacking. Sometimes, skillfully filmed, they skateboard away the pain. Bing must get his mother to talk on camera about how his stepdad beat both of them as he grew up. Zack marries Nina and has a kid called Eliot, is a roofer who drinks and parties too much, turning abusive. Kiere's father dies, which breaks him up, and he works as a dishwasher, wondering about having white friends and feeling trapped in this dead end town.

With this limited raw material Bing fashions something that is a portrait of skate passion, father-son issues, male irresponsibility, a disadvantaged community, and intimate film-making as therapy, among other things. The film is raw and scattered and yet somehow healing, touching, and brave.

Minding the Gap, 93 mins. Mentored by Steve James and distributed by Kartemquin Films, was created at Sundance for the PBS POV series. It debuted at Sundance Jan. 2018 and showed in six other festivals. It as screened for this capsule review as part of the San Francisco International Film Festival, Apr. 2018. Longer revivews will be found in Roger, Indiewire, Hollywood Reporter, and Village Voice.

Friday, April 13, 2018 at 9:00 p.m. at Creativity Theater
Saturday, April 14, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. at BAMPFA
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 8:45 p.m. at Roxie Theater

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