The Films of the Eighties: A Social History
Southern Illinois University Press, 1993 - 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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American film both fed this new racism ( as in Rambo II and Year of the Dragon ) and attempted to raise the consciousness of American society ( as in the border movies and films like Betrayed and Mississippi Burning ) against both the ...
A series of eighties films based upon the premise of a Russian E.T. attempting to live in Western society not only questioned that vaunted openness of American society but also commented upon that which is good in Russia's closed ...
Mazursky's film is not a simplistic beforeand - after contrast of Russian society to American society . Flaws in both societies are vividly represented , but freedom ultimately tips the scale in America's favor .
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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