Throughout Bing Liu
’s remarkable documentary “Minding the Gap
,” a tale of escapist skateboarding and crashing into adulthood, there are occasional cutaway glimpses of scuffed railings around Rockport, Illinois, the economically depressed Rust Belt city where the three young men in Liu’s sights (which include himself) grew up. Those acrobatic grinds skateboarders perform can leave marks, obviously, but then so do turbulent childhoods.
Filmed over many years, during which Liu’s longtime passion for dynamic, fluid skate cinematography morphed into assembling a “Boyhood”-esque meditation on his board-proficient subjects’ entire lives, “Minding the Gap” (premiering theatrically and on Hulu
) announces a confident new voice in personal non-fiction.
What starts as a raucous celebration of youthful freedom — with an exhilarating montage of his key skaters start on a building rooftop, down the ramps of a parking garage, and into the coast-able sloped streets of Rockport — consciously expands to cover the bonds of friendship,