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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... Evil Empire ” to Glasnost 206 The Feminist Farm Crisis and Other Neoconservative Feminist Texts 246 8 The Yuppie Texts 280 Film in the Holograph of New History 308 9 Illustrations FOLLOWING PAGE 16 4 Casualties of War Braddock :.
Issues such as the farm crisis , the new racism , and the yuppie phenomenon exhibit the tenacious contemporaneity of Hollywood in its taking of the pulse of American society . These sections are more specifically located in the American ...
Other issues – such as the farm crisis or the attempt to understand what happened to a soldier in - country Vietnam - drew pockets of concentrated focus at circumscribed points in the decade . The eighties in film history actually began ...
Nineteen eighty - four was the Year of the Family Farm in film history . While thousands of real families were fighting to save real family farms , films like Places in the Heart , Country , and The River dramatized their struggle and ...
... proposed scenarios for America - Russia detente , laid bare the human realities of the American farm crisis , explored the fanaticism of the terrorist mind , and chronicled the yuppie phenomenon in American life .