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 racial text , one of the most prominent social tunneltexts , can be divided into four approaches : the white of the officers and politicians ; the poor white of the grunts ; the black / chicano ; and , of course , the Vietnamese .
The Vietnamese suffered more than two million dead . Allowing for the greater number of dead and the fact that there are fewer - one fifth as many – Vietnamese than Americans , their memorial wall of names , if they had one , would be ...
Shane sees the Vietnamese as responsible for every failure of his life : in war , in business , in love . He reacts with blind racial violence . On his boat he flies the American flag upside down above the upright flag of the ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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