“Between the World Ship and the Spaceship: Planetarianism, Hollywood, Nationalism, and the Iceberg-Shaped Story of The Wandering Earth (2019)” analyzes the Chinese sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth, which imagines a totalizing environmental disaster and a global unity fighting for the survival of humanity and Earth, as an important case of eco-cinema.
The term “eco-cinema” was coined by Professor of Art History Scott MacDonald in 2004 in reference to films in political, historical, and social contexts surrounding the ecological environment.
Wang argues that The Wandering Earth’s future imagination of political actions against environmental deterioration “bears laudable potential to promote a turn from exclusionist individualism, represented by the Hollywood science fiction model, to inclusive planetarianism.
“However,” he says, “the film’s persuasiveness is significantly limited by the double-layered restraint imposed on it by the state and the market for complex historical and societal reasons.”
In the review, Bo Yan of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, said the volume “distinguishes itself by its unique focus on the twin themes of trauma and negativity within a framework provided by laughter and humor studies,” calling the book “essential reading for scholars of Chinese film and literature during the early years of the PRC to understand the interconnected relations between romance and revolution.”
Maoist Laughter was awarded Choice’s Outstanding Academic Title in 2020.