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 problem is , however , that after “ a given set of events has been motifically encoded " 24 by the historian , he is satisfied and fails to interpret the meaning or meanings of those events , not to mention their contextual ...
He refuses to accept any meaning in either Elias or Barnes . He kills meaning , opts for nothing . Why does Chris Taylor kill Sergeant Barnes ? Perhaps because “ it don't mean nothin ? ” Perhaps because he sees murder as a moral act .
To give it all some kind of fuckin ' meaning . PERKINS : Leavin ' this place outside a plastic bag is all the meaning I need . The problem with trying to give the Vietnam War meaning is that there is no meaning to America's presence in ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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