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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To one of these bureaucrats Rhodes says over images of him wandering through Bangkok trying to get information about his MIA son : RHODES : Look , there are 2500 men still unaccounted for and more than 400 live sightings . vo : Look ...
He approaches , cries out his warning , and she fixes him with a long devastating look of defiance , vulnerability , and mystery . The gentleman is stopped dead by that look and retreats from its existential authenticity .
One of the final yuppie baby films of the eighties , Look Who's Talking ( 1989 ) , in its central point of view , makes one of the funniest yet most universal comments upon not only the yuppie lifestyle but all of these other yuppie ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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