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 first dramatic firefight scene , Chris Taylor's first guard duty on a night ambush , the tiny detail of the condensation on his wristwatch is simultaneously real and symbolic . This is the first instance of time being blurred and ...
( 75 ) The village burning scene begins with an instant replay of Herr's description . ... In earlier scenes , the chaos , the annihilation of normality and reason , was engineered by the enemy , but in this village scene it ...
On the other hand , because of the extended presentation of its central scene , a brutal gang rape in a crowded bar with onlookers cheering , The Accused could itself be accused of sexploitation . Perhaps the real question is , Why will ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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