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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By the time the final firefight begins , Chris Taylor has learned the Vietnam War , has become proficient in death - dealing . He has learned to read the bush and see the attacking NVA in the night as he could not in the opening night ...
The final ironic words of the film , the ritualized language of the Mickey Mouse Club chant , poke fun at the whole military war of words that has been satirized all through the film from Hartman at Parris Island to the commanding ...
It appears lastly in the final firefight as hands reach out to pull the squad and the rescued prisoners into the helicopters . In words and images , these two symbolic acts of bearing the burden and stretching out your hand capture the ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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