Chinese films in “the Chinese century” are more expansively confident than ever. A new vogue for science fiction, a genre that has taken off in China alongside the country's stratospheric growth, suggests that China is ready to take up the baton of galactic discovery adventure. Chris Berry examines the father-son narratives in The Wandering Earth (Frant Gwo, 2019) and Nova (Cao Fei, 2019), two recent films that link Chinese patriarchy to the triumph and trials of modern science and progress. The Wandering Earth reaffirms those dominant models in action adventure mode, while Nova's melancholic wanderings are ambivalent and even mournful. Nova reveals a more complex and varied Chinese imagination regarding the challenges presented by the twenty-first century than a mainstream production like The Wandering Earth.

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