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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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 ...
... Vietnam War films , specifically Coming Home , The Deer Hunter , Go Tell the Spartans , and Apocalypse Now , served as barometers that measured the submerged public opinion toward that war and the soldiers who fought in that war .
The Vietnam War , at the time that it was going on , was composed of more than 2.5 million American TEXTS and an indeterminate number of Vietnamese TEXTS possessed by the soldiers who were fighting it .
The social text , which studies the class structures of the war , breaks down into two categories : the class structures within the military ( officers vs. grunts or REMFs vs. combat soldiers ) and the class structures within society in ...
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