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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... tried to resolve them ( such was the case with Vietnam and detente ) or were resurrected from previous decades out of a state of dormancy by the pressure of eighties events ( as was the case with the nuclear threat ) . The second ...
... trying to read the faces of the Vietnamese , and that was like trying to read the wind . We knew that the uses of most information were flexible , different pieces of ground told different stories to different people . " 4 Of all the ...
... - sensitive , multidimensional image of its subject . As White notes , historicism ought to amend its goal of trying to organize the events of modern life into a single coherent narrative pursuant 2 The Films of the Eighties.
... . Like the microcosmic community in The Posiedon Adventure ( 1972 ) , the American people in the seventies were trying to make their way out of a national situation that had suddenly turned upside down . Like The Holograph of History □ 13.
... trying to put out fires that their leaders had started . The seventies was characterized by America's struggle to escape and survive Vietnam exacerbated by the international embarrassment of Watergate . Thus the sociohistorical climate ...