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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The split - level yuppie housing developments of the eighties realized the dark side of that suburban dream as all of the problems of the cities ( homelessness , drugs , disease , crime , racism ) seemed to be moving outward and ...
... The Films of the Eighties : A Social History works to discover and thus minimize the problems of communication that inevitably arise between the demands of the historical text and the criticism function of the film text .
... where theoretical developments bearing upon the reading of texts have emerged in their strongest forms , that intellectual historians can acquire the conceptual means to come to terms with problems in their own field .
19 This assimilation to a new form of historical discourse is necessary because in the world in which we daily live , anyone who studies the past as an end in itself must appear to be either an antiquarian , fleeing from the problems of ...
The problem is , however , that after a given set of events has been motifically encoded " 24 by the historian , he is satisfied and fails to interpret the meaning or meanings of those events , not to mention their contextual ...