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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Like the theme of ritualized language as presented by Kubrick in Full Metal Jacket , the theme of ritual as a means of distancing America from the terrible nihilistic reality of the war , protecting America's innocence , is the central ...
3 The “ Coming Home ” Films 0 N THE THREE - PHASE history of the Vietnam War films , the theme of “ coming home ” has been , from the beginning with Taxi Driver in 1976 , the most scrutinized aspect of the war .
... death with red X's . Beyond this theme of becoming engagé , the motif of photography in Under Fire also represents another major theme , that of the elusiveness of reality , that seventies theme of “ nothing is ever what it seems .
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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