Chinese sci-fi flicks have yet to set sail

By Wang Yiqing ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-12-16 07:57:19

But despite the popularity of science fiction writings and movies in China, as well as film financers' willingness to invest in sci-fi movies, the development of the genre faces many obstacles.

As a genre, Chinese sci-fi movies are still in the nascent stage. If you ask even science fiction writers who have been enamored by sci-fi movies since childhood to name Chinese films in this genre, they cannot come up with good examples. Hao Jingfang, a new generation science fiction writer, says very few Chinese sci-fi movies are worth mentioning. After all, "people watch sci-fi movies more because of their popularity than their imaginative elements," she says.

Given these facts, the challenge for sci-fi filmmakers to tell a good story is greater than those making films in other genres. Script and screenplay writers, and directors of sci-fi flicks have a tougher task than those working on traditional themes, because they have to let their imagination fly while adhering to logic and the laws of science and engineering. There are few professionally trained people who could measure up to this challenge.

Although most of the science fiction writers will be happy to see their works made into films, there are no successful precedents. Chen Qiufan, a science fiction writer who studied Chinese literature and is a film and television director, says many filmmakers have consulted him about adapting his works for movies, but nothing feasible has emerged "until now". By feasible, he means the filmmaking team's qualifications, experience and competence in handling such a subject. Going by Chen, very few filmmaking teams in China have the ability to make a good sci-fi movie.

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