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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The Falcon and the Snowman juxtaposes the illusion of the openess of American life and the idealization of American morality to the businesslike professionalism of Russian bureaucracy and finds both wanting . It captures the suspicion ...
Gorky Park is adapted , the film satisfies an American desire to look inside Russia and see if there really is any basis for ... Masquerading as a police procedural , Gorky Park first anatomizes the closedness of Russian society , then ...
symbolic terms , this is a scheme to steal an integral part of the Russian character , to Westernize and cheapen it . On another level , American agressiveness fuels Russian taciturnity and produces results out of a détente .
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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