The Films of the Eighties: A Social History
SIU Press, 1995 - 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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History has provided situations , themes , characters , and interpretive possibilities that Hollywood has been more than eager to exploit . Conversely Hollywood has courted social credibility and even political power by supporting ...
Films in the seventies and eighties often portray the events of history as swirling around characters , burying characters in complexities , utterly confusing characters , often leaving characters suspended in a nihilistic void in which ...
In the 1978 film Coming Home , a character complains , " they tore down my past and built a shopping center . " Perhaps that irony best characterizes this subtext of cynicism that moves throughout both eighties social and film history .
It is both a realistic novel and an anatomy that presents historical , racial , sexual / psychological , economic , philosophical perspectives on the war from the voices of its different characters , each of whom represents one of those ...
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