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.
No Father-and-Son Reunion: Chinese Sci-Fi in The Wandering Earth and Nova
Chris Berry is professor of Film Studies at King's College London. His publications include Postsocialist Cinema in PostMaoist China: The Cultural Revolution after the Cultural Revolution (Routledge, 2004), edited with Janet Harbord and Rachel Moore; Cinema and the National: China on Screen (Columbia University Press, 2006), with Mary Farquha; The New Chinese Documentary Film Movement: For the Public Record (Hong Kong University Press, 2010), edited with Lu Xinyu and Lisa Rofel; and Public Space Media Space (MacMillan, 2013).
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Chris Berry; No Father-and-Son Reunion: Chinese Sci-Fi in The Wandering Earth and Nova. Film Quarterly 1 September 2020; 74 (1): 40–44. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2020.74.1.40
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