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Trap Street (2013)
"Shuiyin jie" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  13 August 2014 (France)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 111 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 27 critic

In a southern city of China, a digital mapping surveyor encounters a mysterious woman on an unmappable street.

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Cast

Cast overview:
Yulai Lu ...
Li Qiuming
Wenchao He ...
Guan Lifen
Yong Hou ...
Zhang Sheng
Xiaofei Zhao ...
Qiuming's Father
Tiejian Liu ...
Xie Bo
Xinghong Li ...
Interrogator
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Storyline

Li Qiuming is a young trainee at a digital mapping company. His job is to survey the streets of the ever changing city and keep the mapping system up to date. To make ends meet, he installs video cameras at public venues, but hides his side job from his strict father who is a senior editor of a government-run magazine. One day while out surveying, he has a brief encounter with a beautiful young woman who disappears into a secluded alley. He learns that the data he collected of the street will not register in the mapping system. The street has disappeared as if it never existed. Desperate to reconnect with the mysterious woman he continues his investigation of the unmappable street only to discover something that will change his life forever. Written by Anonymous

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Drama

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13 August 2014 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Shuiyin jie  »

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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
No easy answers when you walk down Trap Street
5 March 2014 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Trap Street by director Vivian Qu portrays ordinary experiences -- chance meetings, infatuations, and love -- in a familiar yet eerie setting riddled with both overt and implied surveillance. The characters in Trap Street are very believable yet begin as fish in an aquarium, oblivious to their immersion in a contemporary surveillance society. When personal lives accidentally and suddenly cross a certain line to provoke official concern, a seemingly free person is confined to a fish bowl of scrutiny and coercion.

The casual disregard shown for pervasive surveillance in Trap Street is both ironic and deliberately characteristic of life in our times. The protagonist played by Yulai Lu is a surveyor and a digital citizen of his particular patch of the global village. He spends his time after hours gaming online with his pals, creates his own digital mapping projects through his smartphone and does odd jobs installing video surveillance gear for sketchy clients.

Director Vivian Qu clearly maintains an open-ended approach to the story, free of pat answers or a formulaic resolution to the climactic events. The art of the film lies in Qu's choice to only subtly imply a point of view, allowing the performances and the story to unfold in a way that is open to interpretation. The Q&A session following the screening spoke to the success of Qu's light hand. A highly engaged audience offered diverse questions and insights, and expressed several responses to the story not intended by Qu.

Similarly, her leads, Yulai Lu and Wenchao He, are experienced actors who deliver measured, sincere performances. Lu and He convey a natural romantic connection but resist overplaying to the highly charged circumstances. As brought to life by the players, the atmosphere of the film is by turns realistic, banal, unobtrusive, carefree, intimate and stifling.

The bureaucratic backdrop of stark officialdom is reinforced by the confining streetscapes of Nanjing, the old Chinese capital under the Nationalists. The narrow field of view at street level used by cinematographers Mathieu Laclau and Li Tian leaves the viewer with the sense of belonging to a group of eerily omnipresent overseers.

Toward the close of the film the focus shifts from official scrutiny and social pressures and returns to the personal. The audience is left to consider what has just transpired. We tend to live our lives assuming the existence of an invisible but reassuring line that insulates our private lives from scrutiny. Is that line ever really there?


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