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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... movie . An anonymous Vietnam veteran joins the crew of a movie company making a World War I movie , and suddenly his sense of never knowing what was going on , of what was real and what was just an illusion , comes flooding back to him ...
... movie , strikes a cautionary note about the ability of war movies to be realistic : Now we've got Platoon . A young man who was in grade school when I was in Vietnam tells me it's " authentic . " Time magazine published a cover story ...
... movie within the movie . When Sam the screenwriter tries to define what Eli's movie is about , Eli is compelled to correct him by means of mythic allusion : SAM : Way back then when you were so charged up about making a big anti- war ...
The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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