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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... Ronald Reagan , was a former film actor who repeatedly employed film images and references to advance his historical goals . In his farewell speech to the Republican National Convention in 1988 , for example , the president reprised ...
Film images verify and reveal history , and eighties society was acutely aware of that eye - mind relationship . " Film , " Graeme Turner writes , " is a social practice for its makers and its audience ; in its narratives and meanings ...
History needs to adapt to a holographic model , redefine itself as layers of texts accumulating one atop another upon the base of an event or a document to create a mobile , light - sensitive , multidimensional image of its subject .
22 This relation of history to its texts and those texts to their historical contexts is a constantly shifting one , changing in each new light as a holographic image does . The texts of history must be read both horizontally and ...
The importance of film history lies not in the images or themes of individual films but in the emplotted metaphors and motifs shared by groups of films that together portray , approach , and often even comment upon a specific historical ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
The Nuclear War Film Texts
From the Evil Empire to Glasnost
The Feminist Farm Crisis and Other Neoconservative
The Yuppie Texts
Film in the Holograph of New History