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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An interviewer asks from a national perspective the same question that Al was asking from a personal perspective . “ How do you respond to the accusations that you and other journalists underestimated the brutality of the Khmer Rouge ...
After making love to Clara he asks her not to fake her orgasms as prostitutes do . “ I want you to be yourself , " he tells her . “ I'm not interested in illusions . ” But illusion is the way of life in this Argentine city .
Anna asks Mike's wife , who answers , “ I do . " Anna is taken aback and stammers , “ I really envy you ” and when the wife asks “ why answers , “ for being able to create such a lovely garden . ” The wife's answer to Anna's distracted ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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