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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The Violent Vet Though the controversy that surrounded Year of the Dragon focused upon its racist portrayal of ... Haunted by his complicity in an evil war , the combat veteran is given to fits of violence , succeeded by periods of ...
He is a war lover who now that he has come home is unable to come down off that violence high . Most of the violent vets in eighties films are cops who replace their violent lives in the war with violence in peacetime .
In fact , he wants to dissociate himself from Riggs's unstable violence . ... To add to the “ violent vet ” symmetry of Lethal Weapon , the antagonists of Murtaugh and Riggs are also Vietnam vets , two former CIA spooks .
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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