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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Ironically the images of the two societies are directly opposite of those before - and - after pictures advertising ... The beginning of Moscow on the Hudson pictures the sparseness , the grayness of Russian society prior to Vladimir ...
In Russia , in his dedication to his job of opening up mysteries in a closed society , Arkady is an exception . But in the freewheeling , ultraviolent world of America , he is truly a stranger in a strange land .
NICOLAI : It's still a better place than this . a This first major ideological speech seems to strike a balance between the two societies , intimates that both have their weaknesses . But immediately that balance tilts and Russia ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
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