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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In The Stunt Man , life and the Vietnam War are metaphorically represented as 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 ...
Henry Allen , writing in the Washington Post ( 7 January 1987 ) before he had seen the movie , strikes a cautionary note about the ability of war movies to be realistic : a Now we've got Platoon . A young man who was in grade school ...
In fact , as a twentieth - century God with all the illusionary magic of the movies at his disposal , Cross has become ... “ You shall be a stunt man who is an actor who is an enemy soldier who is a character in a movie , ” Eli assures ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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The Drunken Journalist: The Biography of a Film Stereotype
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