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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... political instincts of writers and directors . To make a film about racism , Hollywood uses the buddy movie genre . " 35 In defending himself against naysayers like Gavin Smith , Parker is quite clear about the histori- cal and political ...
... political terrorism is conscientiously designed to read well in the mouths of media reporters . Ironically the most frequent protagonists of the second terrorist film text , the control text , which examines death squad governmental ...
... political exposition . His first words to Shannon eerily echo that seventies theme line from China- town : " Nobody knows what's going on here , " he says before going on to describe the political history of the young nation of Zangaro ...
The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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