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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Despite this bottom - line mentality , the aesthetic community within the film industry continued to find viable ways to locate , represent , comment upon , actually influence , and participate in the social history of its time .
History needs to take its cue from surrealism in painting or the existentialist novel or postmodernist film , all of which eschew or overcome plot ( " story " ) to represent confusion , the multiplicity of interpretation , emptiness as ...
Thus the sociohistorical climate itself chose the type of film that best represented that particular alignment of events . In the eighties , the same sociohistorical selectivity , the same dynamic of the temper of the times choosing the ...
Social history and film history continue to represent each other in a complex relationship built upon ascending layers of meaning . As has always been the case , social history remains the single most important generator of film texts .
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 ...