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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Late in the film , young Jackie Willow , who has gotten his wish to command a line unit in Vietnam , writes to Sergeant Hazard : “ All anyone talks about in Vietnam , all we see and hear about are demonstrations .
Price and the young pitcher walk away from the firefight laughing , Oates suddenly shoots the young man in the back . Heeding an institutional impulse to become engagé as the young pitcher falls dead , Price drops his camera to the ...
Kramer , the young son of a soon - to - be divorced , single - parent father goes to the bathroom in the middle of the night and meets a naked lady ( Terri Garr ) in the hallway . It is a curious hilarious confrontation played strictly ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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