Leonard Cohen, briefly.

Recently, I rewatched Lian Lunson's I'm Your Man, the 2005 documentary about Cohen and his career. It's is a concert video of sorts with clips of other singers covering Cohen's songs. Interspersed throughout concert footage are interviews by the singers as well as interviews with Cohen himself.
I've included quotes from my four favorite scenes:

“If it is your destiny to be this laborer called a writer, you know you’ve got to go to work everyday, but you also know that you’re not going to get it everyday. You have to be prepared, but you really don’t command the Enterprise.”

"Is this the true burden of being a writer? Being a part of a craft that among other things, demands a strange faith? There is no goal line, no clock, no score? Being a writer demands faith. It's true, you're not commanding the Enterprise, but you're still on board as it hurls through space. You have to trust that you are going in the right direction and that you will get to where you're going, when you need to get there."

“Sometimes when you no longer see yourself as the hero of your own drama, expecting victory after victory, then you understand that this is not paradise. Somehow we embrace the notion that this veil of tears is meant to be perfection that you have to get it all straight. I’ve found that everything became a lot easier when I no longer expected to win.”

"After my father died when I was nine, I took one of his bowties and slit it open. I put a little message in it and I buried it in the backyard in the garden. I had no other way of connecting with the event that was so mysterious, and curiously, not devastating. It seemed to be alright that my father died. It seemed that he died and it was in the realm of things that couldn’t be disputed or rejected or even judged. And so, my writing, and I don’t remember what it was, perhaps just some kind of prayer to speed him along in whatever realm he was traveling."

Critically Speaking

Recently, I watched Life Itself, a documentary about film critic Roger Ebert directed by Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and was reminded of just how counter Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel were to the public's perception of a critic's role. Most see a critic as someone who can’t be a musician or a filmmaker or a writer and has to resort, often bitterly, to critiquing those who are.  What better representation do we have than Salieri in Milos Forman’s 1984 film, Amadeus
All I wanted was to sing to God. He gave me that longing... and then made me mute. Why? Tell me that. If He didn't want me to praise him with music, why implant the desire? Like a lust in my body! And then deny me the talent?


Webpage for Bing Liu's Minding the Gap 

Criterion Collection- Minding the Gap 

Nike's: Skateboarding is Not a Crime commercial

The Document:
 Return to Rockford

Hollywood Reporter Roundtable: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Bing Liu, Rashida Jones

Bing Liu interviewed by Salon

Bing Liu on The Daily Show

A.O. Scott; New York Times

They grew up together in Rockford, Ill., three boys united by their love of skateboarding. At a certain point — around middle school, it seems — one of them, Bing Liu, began videotaping their exploits.
 A pleasure of Minding the Gap, his astonishing debut feature, 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. 
It’s not only the glue that binds them to one another through tough times but also a source of identity and meaning, a way of life and a life saver. “Minding the Gap” is more than a celebration of skateboarding as a sport and a subculture. 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.
Daniel FienbergThe Hollywood Reporter:
Liu is in a unique position because he's become almost a priest hearing confessions, forcing him to ponder the line between dispassionate filmmaker and concerned friend, while also looking for the right opportunity to get his mother on camera for a talk they've never had about their unspoken family secrets.
Michael Phillips; Chicago Tribune:
Around the midpoint Liu turns to his own part of the story. He interviews his mother, born in China as was the director, drawing out her memories of Liu’s abusive stepfather. The director’s half-brother, Kent, appears briefly on camera as well, recalling the “unnerving screams of anguish” coming from his sibling’s room at night. 
Much of “Minding the Gap” is painful to witness, but as past and present intersect and recombine and Liu’s wealth of footage coalesces, the finished film becomes a cautiously hopeful and even cathartic experience. It’s fully responsive as cinema. Liu, who served as editor along with Josh Altman, deploys the lyric skateboarding interludes just often enough to keep everything flowing. Akin to Michael Apted’s “7 Up” series, or Richard Linklater’s narrative feature “Boyhood,” at one point we see Zack hurtle through a few formative years in a lovely video montage. Life is beautiful, and cruel, and this film is a dialectic between the harshness and the beauty.
As most of the critics describe, Minding the Gap has a deep vein of violence that runs down the center of the film. What's more disturbing is that we see how such violence is perpetuated.  One of Liu’s friends, Zack, has a child with his girlfriend, Nina, when both are just teenagers and we witness the difficulties in their relationship. In a revealing scene, we see the boogieman face to face as Zack tries to explain when it's justifiable to hit a woman.  Until this scene, the abusive men were lost in the past, but here, we see exactly how the pattern of violence comes full circle and is passed down from one generation to the next.