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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... soldiers in Vietnam . Like the blacks in American history , the soldiers of Vietnam have been rejected by the society they have pledged to defend . In one of the early assaults on the hill , helicopter gunships fly over to provide ...
... soldiers . . . . We are the Kabuki Theater , " Sergeant Major Goody Nelson ( James Earl Jones ) laughs . But even as these career soldiers mock the military ritual charade that they take part in every day , they realize that their job ...
... soldiers in Vietnam by their own country in Hamburger Hill or the imagery of the garden of America being turned to stone by that Medusa war in Gardens of Stone . Good Morning , Vietnam simply is not aware of the nihilism that every ...
The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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