A shadowy thriller and portrait of contemporary Chinese culture, Trap Street (the phrase refers to fake streets put on maps as copyright protection) follows a young man, Liu Qiuming (Lü Yulai), whose attraction to a mysterious woman causes him to run afoul of the state. A trainee for a digital mapping company, Liu and his supervisor drive around the streets of an unnamed central Chinese city creating a map. One day, Liu becomes fascinated with an unmapped street and a woman who apparently works there in “Lab 203.” He follows and befriends her, but soon discovers he has drawn the attention of state spooks. Trap Street circles around a bit too much before reaching a conclusion, but the background details say as much about contemporary China as about the surveillance plot: Liu shares a flat with two slacker friends who, among other odd jobs, do occasional work installing security cameras. Everywhere, the shadow of authority looms over a chaotic, dysfunctional social reality.
At VIFF: Oct. 1, Vancity; Oct 2, 1:14 p.m., International Village