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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Ironically ( some would say intentionally on the part of the Kerr - McGee Corporation and the United States government ) the facts upon which the film is based are as muddled as its central character , Karen Silkwood .
a have had more of a “ serious Costa - Gavras documentary " quality because the conditions at the Kerr - McGee plant were actually far worse than they were depicted in the film.19 Despite all of this controversy , over both the screen ...
But the effects of Kerr - McGee's lax safety procedures radiates outside of the workplace as well . It is not only the workers whose lives are put in jeopardy by this negligent nuclear power industry , but the whole society .
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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