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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Platoon is not a conventional existential film about identity confusion . In a war zone , there is not much time to be confused about oneself when there are so many other types of confusion to confront and resolve .
Platoon is about confusion , confusion on every level of human perception , confusion on every level of national intention , confusion swirling and popping and exploding and spurting and twisting and turning and rising and falling so ...
Under Fire captures in this trope of photography the confusion not only of the press as to how to deal with Central and South America but of the American public as to who is right and who is wrong south of the border .
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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