A poignant and engaging thriller, Vivian Qu’s feature debut plunges us into the fascinating world of state surveillance in China as it follows a digital mapping surveyor’s investigation of an "off-the-grid" hidden alley.

Discovery

Trap Street

Vivian Qu

Stepping behind the camera, producer Vivian Qu (Night Train, Knitting) undertakes a cinematic analysis of a global hot topic in this impressive directorial debut. Be it the National Security Agency's Datagate scandal or WikiLeaks, whether in China, Europe or North America, state surveillance hits the headlines with disturbing frequency. Like an all-seeing eye it is there — ostensibly protecting us from crime and terrorism, and inevitably compromising privacy and civil liberties.

A poignant and engaging thriller, Trap Street plunges us into the fascinating world of two Chinas: one young, computer-savvy and globally connected; the other anchored to a past that can't be forgotten, the China of those who have travelled, at the speed of light, the distance between the Cultural Revolution and today. And in this gap, censorship and obscurantism sneak in with freedom-crippling "small" incidents.

Li Qiuming works at a digital mapping company, photographing the streets that comprise the maze of China's ever-changing cities. One day while out surveying, he sees through his viewfinder an attractive woman disappearing into a secluded alley. Unable to forget the mysterious lady who has triggered his romantic imagination, Qiuming returns to where he saw her first, only to discover that the data he had collected there was never registered. Even though he stands right there in front of the street sign, Forest Lane has fallen off the map of the city, as if it never existed.

Trap Street is one of the most interesting Chinese films of the year. Contextualized in the uniqueness of China's recent history, the universal paradoxes of societies in which individual freedom constantly clashes with new forms of control are themselves under surveillance here, trapped between modernity and socialism.

GIOVANNA FULVI

Screenings

Thu Sep 05

Scotiabank 9

Industry
5:00pm
Fri Sep 06

TIFF Bell Lightbox 4

Regular
6:00pm
Sun Sep 08

Scotiabank 11

Regular
9:30pm
Thu Sep 12

Scotiabank 11

Industry
12:30pm
Sun Sep 15

Scotiabank 8

Regular
3:30pm