The Films of the Eighties: A Social History
Southern Illinois University Press, 1993 - 335 pages
In this remarkable sequel to his Films of the Seventies: A Social History, William J. Palmer examines more than three hundred films as texts that represent, revise, parody, comment upon, and generate discussion about major events, issues, and social trends of the eighties.
Palmer defines the dialectic between film art and social history, taking as his theoretical model the "holograph of history" that originated from the New Historicist theories of Hayden White and Dominick LaCapra. Combining the interests and methodologies of social history and film criticism, Palmer contends that film is a socially conscious interpreter and commentator upon the issues of contemporary social history. In the eighties, such issues included the war in Vietnam, the preservation of the American farm, terrorism, nuclear holocaust, changes in Soviet-American relations, neoconservative feminism, and yuppies.
Among the films Palmer examines are Platoon, The Killing Fields, The River, Out of Africa, Little Drummer Girl, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Silkwood, The Day After, Red Dawn, Moscow on the Hudson, Troop Beverly Hills, and Fatal Attraction. Utilizing the principles of New Historicism, Palmer demonstrates that film can analyze and critique history as well as present it.
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Full Metal Jacket fits into the Kubrick canon as tightly and precisely as a clip clicks into an M - 16 . J. Hoberman , writing about the Vietnam War films of the eighties , makes an excellent distinction : “ But if Rambo : First Blood ...
If a couple of shots were fired on patrol , it was good to say that you killed two gooks and if you said two , somebody would make it eight.19 Full Metal Jacket has no real plot . It simply consists of disposable characters and motion .
The ultimate symbolic nihilism of Full Metal Jacket is the words that cause and sustain wars . The final ironic words of the film , the ritualized language of the Mickey Mouse Club chant , poke fun at the whole military war of words ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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